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On behalf of the Whidden Committee at McMaster University, we would like to remind you that this year’s Whidden Lectures will take place next week. We are very excited to be joined by Professor Daphne Brooks of Yale University.

We hope you will join us for one or both of her two lectures:

Public Lecture at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, March 20th in the Great Hall, University Club:

“The Knowles Sisters’ Political Hour: Black Feminist Sonic Dissent at the End of the Third Reconstruction”

Abstract: Both Beyonce and her younger sister Solange are, right now, basking in the kind of critical and popular glory that foretells of new and unprecedented barriers being broken by black women pop artists — let alone by two siblings. Together they’ve pushed forward the form as well as the content of pop dissent, building on centuries of radical sonic expression. This paper explores the distinct and pathbreaking forms of protest music performances that the Knowles Sisters have respectively innovated in this the era of Black Lives Matter and what historians are calling “the end of the Third Reconstruction” in the U.S.

Specialized Lecture at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 21st in Convocation Hall.

“If You Should Lose Me”: The Archive, the Critic, the Record Shop & the Blues Woman

Abstract: This talk examines the problem of iconic blues women who’ve been “lost” to history, Geeshie Wiley and Elvie Thomas, as well as the critics who’ve loved and chased after them. By placing the politics of queer archival studies and black performance theory in conversation with canonical blues historiographies, the talk will explore the aesthetics and cultural resonances of Wiley and Thomas’s rare recordings. It aims as well to trace a black feminist counter-history of record collecting and listening publics in order to tell a different story of blues lives that mattered.

Dr. Brooks’ informal breakfast/coffeehouse with McMaster graduate students will be moved to Tuesday 21 March 10:00-11:00 a.m.  in Wilson Hall Rm. 2001.

Coffee and refreshments will be provided.

Daphne A. Brooks is the author of two books: Bodies in Dissent:  Spectacular Performances of Race and Freedom, 1850-1910 (Durham, NC: Duke UP), winner of The Errol Hill Award for Outstanding Scholarship on African American Performance from ASTR and Jeff Buckley’s Grace (New York: Continuum, 2005).  Brooks is currently working on a new book entitled Subterranean Blues: Black Women Sound Modernity (Harvard University Press, forthcoming).  She has authored numerous articles on race, gender, performance and popular music culture, and she is also the author of the liner notes for The Complete Tammi Terrell (Universal A&R, 2010) and Take a Look: Aretha Franklin Complete on Columbia (Sony, 2011), each of which has won the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for outstanding music writing. Brooks is also currently the co-editor of the 33 1/3 Books About Music Series. She is a contributing writer for various press publications including The Nation, The Guardian, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Pitchfork.com, Slate, and Art Forum.

The Whidden Lectures were established in 1954 by E. Carey Fox, a philanthropic alumnus of McMaster University, to honour a beloved Chancellor, the Reverend Howard P. Whidden, churchman, statesman, and teacher, who had been the architect of the university’s transfer from Toronto to Hamilton in 1930. The first lecture in the series, which is understood to have an interdisciplinary mandate, was delivered in 1954. In recent years the Whidden lectureship has attracted outstanding scholars, reflecting the interdisciplinary and outreach mandates of the endowment and drawing large audiences.


For more information, please contact us at whidden2017@gmail.com


We look forward to welcoming you to the 2017 Whidden Lectures at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.