Event Info


Jocelyne Guilbault, Professor of ethnomusicology at the University of California, Berkeley, will present “Full Extreme”: Party Music, Affect, and the Politics of Modernity. 

During Carnival masquerade, music occupies the streets. Members of masquerade bands carefully choose the songs they play along the circuit they travel for one important reason: to have their favorite song win the Road March competition. The Road March winner is determined by the number of times a song is played at the judging points during Carnival Tuesday.

Prof. Guilbault's talk will focus on the 2017 Road March song, “Full Extreme,” the song that played almost 500 more times than its closer competitor that year. Prof. Guilbault examines this song as an event that reveals how various forces and intensities are at play in foregrounding simultaneously “collective effervescence” (Durkheim 1995 [1912]) and the local tradition of calypso’s critical rhetoric in Trinidad. By exploring how it has galvanized massive support, she shows how this song confronts what has been at the core of the exclusionist politics of modernity and what is called for not only to create mass appeal, but also to encourage public engagement and political debate in modern democracies. 

This colloquium is part of the "Sound Knowledges" series, a Humanities Council Magic Project curated by Gavin Steingo.

About the Series:

In the past decade, “sound studies” has developed as a major field of scholarly investigation. Often conceptualized as an alternative to visually-oriented studies of media and society, sound studies has foregrounded otherwise neglected histories of listening and the acoustic, and has situated audition as a central figure in the production of cultural, social, and scientific knowledge. But despite continued calls for an approach that would cut across different modalities of knowledge production, research on sound remains woefully compartmentalized. By bringing together theorists, artists, and practitioners, this series promises to foster a more robust and genuinely crossdisciplinary approach to sonic knowledge.