• poster of cultural sustainabilities conference

May 24-26 THU-SAT

Thursday 7:00pm - 9:00pm

Friday 8:30am - 6:00pm

Saturday 9:30am - 12:30pm

McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Free and open to the public.

Cultural Sustainabilities is driven by the proposition that environmental and human sustainability are inextricably linked. Leading social scientists, humanists, and activists will convene to address the premise that reversing or ameliorating the negative impacts of human behavior on the globe’s environments is at its core a human cultural question. Topics considered include media, language, singing, fandom, indigeneity, trauma, and trash. The conference honors the work of the keynote speaker, Jeff Todd Titon.

Keynote Address by JEFF TODD TITON “Toward a Sound Ecology,”

Friday, May 25, 3:30 pm

Conference participants: AARON S. ALLEN (University of North Carolina at Greensboro), NINOTCHKA BENNAHUM (UC Santa Barbara), DANIEL CAVICCHI (Rhode Island School of Design), TIMOTHY J. COOLEY (UC Santa Barbara), MARK DEWITT (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), BARRY DORNFELD (Center for Applied Research), NANCY GUY (UC San Diego), MARY HANCOCK (UC Santa Barbara), RUTH HELLIER-TINOCO (UC Santa Barbara), MARY HUFFORD (UC Berkeley) SUSAN HURLEY-GLOWA (University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley), ALEXANDER KARVELAS (UC Santa Barbara), MICHELLE KISLIUK (University of Virginia), MARGARITA MAZO (Ohio State University), RAVI PARASHAR (UC Santa Barbara), DAVID PELLOW (UC Santa Barbara), JENNIFER POST (University of Arizona), ROSHAN SAMTANI (University Studies Abroad Consortium, Stanford University, Madrid), JEFFREY A. SUMMIT (Tufts University), JOSHUA TUCKER (Brown University), JANET WALKER (UC Santa Barbara)

Sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, College of Letters & Science, Humanities and Fine Arts, The Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Music, and the Departments o Music, Environmental Studies, and Film & Media Studies. Photo by Elza Karimova.


  1. May 24, 2018 to May 26, 2018
  • poster of michael palm's talk

Date: Friday, May 4th, 3PM

Location: SSMS 2135

Feedback loops abound between digital media and contemporary vinyl culture. The majority of record sales occur online, the download code is a familiar feature of new vinyl releases, and turntables outfitted with USB ports and Bluetooth are outselling traditional models. The manufacture of records cannot be digitized; however, as with most commercial culture today, vinyl traffic is driven by algorithms and thrives on social media. Furthermore, the ascent of streaming over the past five years has boosted record sales, creating both-and markets for “flow” and “publication” media, distinguished by Raymond Williams as being accessed or acquired by consumers. Contemporary vinyl culture demonstrates how digital media can play a vital role in any community organized around a shared appreciation for cultural forms and formats, analog or otherwise.

Eschewing nostalgia for records as (merely) a reprieve from digital saturation, in this talk Palm argues that scholars and supporters of independent culture should decouple the digital from the corporate. No doubt, the digitization of popular music has become a largely corporatized affair; however, for many independent labels and merchants the recent re-embrace of vinyl by major labels and chain stores has become as overbearing as the corporate stranglehold on digital distribution. To combat the glutting of a niche market, some independent labels are vertically integrating and beginning to manufacture as well as distribute and sell their own records. The stakes of vinyl’s future involve the viability of an independent supply chain for popular music and the implications therein for cultural production in a digital age.

Michael Palm is Associate Professor of Media and Technology Studies in the Department of Communication at UNC-Chapel Hill and Affiliated Faculty in the Department of American Studies. His research and teaching focus on the history of everyday technology and the politics and economics of popular culture. His current book project is a cultural studies account of vinyl records’ revived popularity, informed by labor ethnography along records’ contemporary supply chain. His book Technologies of Consumer Labor: A History of Self-Service was published by Routledge in 2017. He is also co-editor of The University Against Itself: The NYU Strike and the Future of the Academic Workplace (Temple, 2008), and his most recent articles have been published in the Journal of Popular Music Studies and Cultural Studies. He serves as Diversity Liaison for the Department of Communication at UNC- Chapel Hill and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Cultural Economy.

Sponsored by the Department of Film and Media Studies, the Carsey-Wolf Center, the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, the Center for Information Technology and Society, and the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Music.

  1. May 4, 2018 - 3:00pm
  • shannon garland poster

Date: May 2, 2018


Location: Music Library 2406

In 2011, a minimalist ballad called "Love Doesn’t Exist in São Paulo" became a major hit in São Paulo, Brazil. Describing “bars full of empty souls,” where “no one goes to heaven,” the song describes the feeling of São Paulo as lacking in love. Written by longtime underground rapper named Criolo, whose work usually refers to life for the marginalized in the city’s periphery, the song became especially popular amongst cosmopolitan, middle-class youth, who had already begun using “love” to index ideal social relationships and modes of inhabiting the city. On the eve of the 2012 municipal elections, political activists drew on the popularity of the song to create an all-day music and arts festival called Love Exists in São Paulo, headlined by Criolo. Billed as a non-partisan, popular manifestation expressing the need for São Paulo governed by love, the event seemed to support mayoral candidate Fernando Haddad, who ran on a platform of humanizing the city. Haddad won. Referring to the event in his inaugural address, Haddad proclaimed love to indeed exist in São Paulo, promised to govern with love, and later brought event organizers into city government. This paper teases out the dynamics of city life that primed listeners to resonate with the song Não Existe Amor em SP, allowing its conversion into public event and political expedience. It shows how vague affects produced by experiences of the city become articulated and specified through the medium of song, as well as the ways in which actors drive such affective resonance into particular social meanings and political desires.

Shannon Garland is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Ethnomusicology at UCLA. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from Columbia University. Examining media circulation, band touring, and live performance in the context of emerging music industry organizations, Dr. Garland's work addresses affect, aesthetics and sociality in the production of differential economies of value. Her book project, For the Love: Independent Music, Affect, and Labor in Brazil and Beyond, traces the interrelationships between cultural finance, social networking, and live performance, to show how aesthetic judgement forms through both global political economy and the intimate politics of social relationships. Dr. Garland serves as the 2017-2019 chair of the Economic Ethnomusicology Special Interest Group within the Society of Ethnomusicology.

Co-sponsored by Ethnomusicology Forum and the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Music.

  1. May 2, 2018 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm