Arts & Culture

UK to Present Longyear Colloquium on Asian-American Women's Activism Through Music, Dance

photo of FandangoObon
headshot photo of Deborah Wong
photo of Longyear Lecture with Deborah Wong poster

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 4, 2018) Noted ethnomusicologist Deborah Wong is coming to the University of Kentucky's campus to lead a discussion on "Women of Color Creating Change" as part of the Rey M. Longyear colloquium. Wong’s free public talk on taiko, FandangObon and Asian-American activism led by women will begin 3:30 p.m. Friday, April 6, at the Niles Gallery in the Lucille C. Little Fine Arts Library and Learning Center.

How do some Asian-American women use the arts to create change? How do they work for, with and beyond their own communities? Wong’s talk, presented by the UK Division of Musicology and Ethnomusicology, will explore two case studies. One is a group of women who want to address gendered values within the taiko community. The other is FandangObon, an ongoing Asian-American/Chicanx collaboration that has found a vibrant connection between the contemporary son jarocho movement and the post-internment efflorescence of Japanese-American summer festival dance.

Through her examples, Wong will explain the power of interethnic collaboration using ideas from feminism, decolonial theory and community organizing. In addition, she will open a discussion of how music and dance create such powerful connections to enforce change.

Currently a professor of music at the University of California, Riverside, Wong specializes in the musics of Asian-America and Thailand. She has published two books: “Speak It Louder: Asian Americans Making Music” and “Sounding the Center: History and Aesthetics in Thai Buddhist Ritual.” She currently has her next book under review: “Louder and Faster: Pain, Taiko, and the Body Politic.”

Wong is series editor for Wesleyan University Press' Music/Culture series, a research team member for the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation, former president of the Society for Ethnomusicology, chair of the advisory council for the Smithsonian Institution’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and is involved with two current public sector projects: Great Leap Online Archive and Women and Taiko.

The UK Division of Musicology and Ethnomusicology's colloquium lectures are made possible by endowments established by former UK Professor of Musicology Rey M. Longyear and his wife Katie, and by UK Emeritus Professor of Physics Keith MacAdam.

The UK School of Music at the UK College of Fine Arts has garnered a national reputation for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, music therapy, composition, and theory and music history.

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