Episode 1: Malvina Reynolds and her “Little Boxes”
Episode 1, presented by Nicholas Mathew. Remembering the singer and political activist Malvina Reynolds, the former Berkeleyan who would have turned 120 this month. We discuss her life, music, and activism, as well as the contested politics of her most famous song, “Little Boxes” — a satire of suburban conformity inspired by the sixties housing developments around Daly City. Featuring Reynolds’ daughter Nancy Schimmel (also a former Berkeleyan), Professor Margaret Crawford from Architecture, Professor Timothy Hampton from French and Comparative Literature, and Professor Maria Sonevytsky from Music.
Suggested reading and listening:
This blog by Nancy Schimmel about her mother’s life and work
Malvina Reynolds singing “Little Boxes”
Peter Seeger singing “Little Boxes”
Margaret Crawford’s Everyday Urbanism and Building the Working Man’s Paradise
Timothy Hampton’s book on Bob Dylan’s Poetics
Maria Sonevytsky’s Wild Music
Our wonderful soundtrack is “Strawberry” from the 2015 Snowy Egret album by Berkeley’s Myra Melford
Episode 2: “Remote Instruction?”
Episode 2, presented by Nicholas Mathew. How can music and sound studies teach us to conceive of “remote instruction” in new ways? A Berkeley seminar, a musical performance, a criminal trial — are any of these “live” if they are happening over Zoom? Mary Ann Smart from Music, Danielle Simon from Dartmouth College, Tom McEnaney from Comparative Literature, and Andrea Roth from the Law school discuss the history of the concept of “liveness,” the American legal obsession with face-to-face cross-examination, the “media forms” of the courtroom, classroom, novel, and radio broadcast — and whether “remote learning” is truly “remote.
Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”
Tom McEnaney’s Acoustic Properties
Andrea Roth on “Machine Testimony”
Mary Ann Smart’s Waiting for Verdi
Danielle Simon’s “Broadcasting Opera in Fascist Italy”
Episode 3: “Maria Sonevytsky and Wild Music”
Episode 3, presented by Nicholas Mathew. Professor Maria Sonevytsky from UC Berkeley’s music department discusses her new book Wild Music: Sound and Sovereignty in Ukraine, which just received the prestigious 2020 Lockwood Award from the American Musicological Society. How do Ukraine’s two victories in the Eurovision Song Contest relate to the simultaneous revolutionary moments in the country’s history? What is the contested politics of “traditional” vocal styles within the Urkainian iteration of the global television franchise The Voice? And what does modern Ukrainian history have to teach us about culture, statehood, and sovereignty in a fraught political geography of migration and shifting borders?