Program

Wining Specialists: Black Caribbean Women and the Public Pedagogy of Desire

Event Info

This event will take place via Zoom at this link>

Abstract:

The historically unprecedented diasporic popularity of wilders, a genre of carnival music from the Eastern Caribbean islands of St. Kitts and Nevis, can be attributed to the entrepreneurialism of young Black women. Acting as public pedagogues, these women have used social media platforms such as instagram and TikTok as spaces for teaching the technical and kinesthetic distinctions between Afro-diasporic dancing styles. With some songs and riddims going "viral" within these circles, wilders, a previously unintelligible style of ultra-uptempo music, has become recognizable on the global scene as one kind of music specifically for wining: skillfully rolling, rocking, and isolating ones hips and backside. In the wake of a pop cultural moment when the term “twerk” has come to [mis]represent every kind of butt-shaking tradition in popular globalized discourse, these social media pedagogues are promoting Caribbean cultural productions, especially youth music and dance, in ways that are both resistive to the homogenizing impulses of neoliberalism, and heavily adapted to its monetizing logic. By contextualizing Black women's social media pedagogy within the broader history of Black women's bodily public performance in the Caribbean, I ask, how might understanding wining as a form of pedagogy shed different light on previous generations of Caribbean women and their relationship to music production?

About the Artist:

Jessica Swanston Baker, a Bronx, NY native, is Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of Chicago where she teaches and researches Caribbean music and critical Caribbean studies, theories of the postcolonial, race, temporality and acceleration. Professor Baker holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Bucknell University and a PhD in Ethnomusicology from the University of Pennsylvania. Before her appointment at the University of Chicago, she was the Postdoctoral Fellow in Critical Caribbean Studies at Rutgers University. Her current book project, Island Time: Speed, Music, and Modernity in St. Kitts and Nevis is an ethnographic and historical examination of changing conceptions of temporality as understood through the sonic worlds of postcolonial youth in the eastern Caribbean twin-island nation St. Kitts and Nevis.