boat horns, common experiences, and decolonizing covers

at the AAS this year, i participated in a panel of a group of people with whom i started working last year, who have been organizing conferences, panels, and an edited volume on the subject of “resonating occupations,” or the ways that colonialism / colonial occupations have registered, sounded, or been resisted sonically. although i could have given a paper from last year’s conference, i decided to do what most of us did for this event, which was to write something new. originally, i thought that it would take me in relatively worn paths for me, working on the ways that songs by suming rupi, intended to be protest songs, don’t always sound that way to settler listeners. instead, i ended up writing about the sound of boat horns in a few songs from the 1980s…

because i’ve posted the text of much of this talk on my taiwan soundscapes blog, i’m just including a link here. follow the series to read this work on boat horns:

listening to boat horns: common but conflictual experiences

fasting from plastic: how it broke just as it began

it turned out that my fast from single use plastic broke nearly just as it began (time to pick myself up and start over…)

to prepare for my fast, i did all the right things: made a inventory of the single use plastic in my daily life, remembered to pull together what i needed to avoid single use plastic, and encouraged myself actively to refuse single use plastic by saying “please no straw” or “please use my cup.” carrying my string bags, equipped with bento box and reusable coffee cup thermos, i was ready to face the challenge

but it wasn’t that simple. who would have thought that single use plastic appears when you least expect it?

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plastic free life? weighing your commitments

ok…i know. toothbrushes are good for oral health, but not so good for the ocean. but what are we to do if we go plastic free here? the only alternatives seem to involve pig hair bristles. even if i didn’t live with a vegetarian, i might worry about my complicity with factory farming if i were to buy such brushes

and then there are claims by some manufacturers that the bristles are biodegradable nylon or bamboo. can you believe such claims? no, says a 2015 blog post

it turns out that, as argued by alexis shotwell, trying to achieve purity is not a good goal. i’m going to fail going plastic free, but that will force me to weigh my different ethical commitments and think of good ways to live in spite of necessary compromise


fasting from plastic: toiletries

today i was thinking about my grooming habits and how they require quite a bit of plastic, from toothbrushes and toothpaste to the packaging for facial masks. can i get rid of this plastic?

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my plastic fast (3): groceries without plastic, or a setback

having looked over all of the single use plastic that i typically use, i found that i do pretty well with grocery shopping but could do better. i’m particularly worried about those products that form a major part of my diet that i cannot buy without packaging, like tofu

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my plastic fast (2): where do i use single use plastic

the first step in preparing for my plastic fast will be to account for all of my use of single use plastic at home and when out

fortunately, stanley bought a wide array of mesh and cotton bags that we use for buying produce and items that we can purchase at the grocery store in bulk. because of my experience living on taiwan, i was already in the habit of taking my own bags to make groceries. for the same reason, i usually carry chopsticks or my own cutlery. i thought that we were doing a good job, until i looked around…

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my plastic fast

lent has a bad name, probably because of its association with the rather silly giving up of good things, like chocolate. but i want to claim the battle between carnival and lent for a kind of environmental ascesis

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climate justice and the failures of western imagination

this year, BTOT was again full of joy and provocation: joy in the variety of jam sessions, new music, and dance composition with which presenters engaged their colleagues at berklee; provocation as some of our colleagues tried to stir things up. as a member of the BTOT program committee, it was a great deal of fun!

this year as many years, my colleague political scientist  victor wallis organized a panel that underscored the urgency of the climate crisis. as a prison and environmental activist and scholar who has edited the journal socialism and democracy, victor wallis is aware of the complexity of the climate issue. in many ways, his work points out how the urgency of the climate crisis requires us to think our way outside of capitalism

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我們要被殖民位置絆倒,才能找到我們的立場:閱讀 j. smith 2015 “standing with sol”以及行動人類學有感

我經常疑問,人類學、民族音樂學的理論真的離開搶救人類學背後的基本敘說(foundational narrative),換一句話來說,我們雖然推廣社區互動性、合作性、等研究的同時,卻還未面對美國和台灣學界多層殖民性的問題

所以,就像加拿大人類學家brian noble所講的,我們可能需要被殖民性絆倒 (tripped up by coloniality),弄得我們幾乎無法繼續研究,才能找到一個立場

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the market! how academic institutions swallow the koolade of constructive engagement with china

given the current love affair between capital and authoritarianism moving toward matrimonial alliance in china, it’s time not to be led astray by the notion that capitalism promotes press or academic freedom. nonetheless, many academic institutions in the united states have bought into the failed promises of “constructive engagement”

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