death

Lise Waxer and the Strange Histories of Good News


 

Lise Waxer was an ethnomusicologist of salsa music, respected and admired for her critically-acclaimed book tracing the development of salsa music, vinyl recordings, and memory in Colombia, entitled, The City of Musical Memory: Salsa, Record Grooves, and Popular Culture in Cali, Colombia (Wesleyan, 2002). A year later, her book would be awarded the highest prize for a monograph (i.e., single-author book) in her discipline by the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM), namely, the Alan Merriam Prize (2003). But Waxer was never able to receive her prize or the well-deserved recognition that came with it, because she died suddenly in the summer of 2002. That fall, at the meeting of SEM where she was also awarded the Merriam Prize, the Popular Music Section of SEM decided to establish an award in her honor: the Lise Waxer Student Paper Prize. To remember her pathbreaking work in the ethnomusicology of popular music, this prize sought “to recognize the most distinguished student paper in the ethnomusicology of popular music presented at the SEM annual meeting.”

Well, the good news is that I won the Lise Waxer Student Paper Prize this year. (more…)

Advertisements

Pathologizing Crowds: Love Parade 2010, Death, and the Problem of Crowds


Yes, yes, I’m a bit late to be commenting on the tragedy at Duisburg. The story has been covered in print and online endlessly since the event last Saturday, and the German press has been reporting daily on the personal and political aftermath. There’s even a Wikipedia page devoted to the disaster already. In a nutshell: there was a huge turnout at the Love Parade last Saturday (July 24), which was held in Duisburg this year, and overcrowding in the tunnel which served as the only entrance and exit to the even site led to a panic and a stampede, killing 21 and wounding more than 500 (note: initial reports counted 19 dead, but two others succumbed to their wounds a few days later).

I’m not planning to describe the event in any detail. Der Spiegel has been providing thorough English-language and German-language coverage of the event and its aftermath, including descriptive details and arresting photography. I’m also not writing here to respond to the disaster from the point of view of the Electronic Dance Music community; Will Lynch has already provided a clear and concise report of the event at Resident Advisor, and Emmy over at What Time Is Your Flight? has reflected on the impact of this event on dance music/festival communities and has gathered together news coverage and video from the event.

What I want to talk about here is crowds. (more…)