Tango: It’s exciting, it’s fast, its accompanying music is usually catchy. And, of course, it’s “a global metaphor with deeply embedded connections to urban poverty, social marginalization, and masculine authority.”
May I present, ladies and gentlemen, the latest installment of absurd academic conferences; announcement herewith:
Dance the World Around:
Global Transformations of Latin American Culture
October 26-27, 2007
Agassiz Theatre, Radcliffe Yard
10 Garden Street
Tango! engages with the history and aesthetics of a vital dance form in order to explore traditions of culture and politics in Latin America and across the world. Through performance and conversation, this conference will consider tango as a global metaphor with deeply embedded connections to urban poverty, social marginalization, and masculine authority.
Admission is free, and registration is required.
For a complete schedule and to register, please visit www.radcliffe.edu or call 617-495-8600.
Yo-Yo Ma, cellist
Pablo Aslan, bassist and composer
Osvaldo Golijov, composer
Homi Bhabha, Harvard University
Alicia Borinsky, Boston University
Juan E. Corradi, New York University
Deborah Foster, Harvard University
Florencia Garramuño, Universidad de San Andrés
Merilee Grindle, Harvard University
Barbara J. Grosz, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study
Matthew B. Karush, George Mason University
Sylvia Molloy, New York University
Federico Miguel Monjeau, Universidad de Buenos Aires
Marta Elena Savigliano, University of California at Los Angeles
Mariano Siskind, Harvard University
Diana Sorensen, Harvard University
Julie Taylor, Rice University
Tango! is cosponsored by the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, the Humanities Center at Harvard, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, with the generous support of the Consulate General and Promotion Center of Argentina in New York.
What’s really amusing about this confab is that it’s not some small, trifling affair, as one might imagine an academic conference on tango being.
Yo-Yo Ma, Osvaldo Golijov: These are big names. And, indeed, they’re quite appropriate for a conference about tango, as anyone who has witnessed Pontius Pilate grooving in Golijov’s St Mark’s Passion can attest.
Sadly, you get the sweet with the sour, beginning with Homi Bhabha, the “postcolonial critical theorist” as famous for his notoriously opaque prose as the ideas he churns out with the same. Prof Bhabha apparently won Philosophy and Literature’s Bad Writing Competition some years ago with this sentence, from his book The Location of Culture:
If, for a while, the ruse of desire is calculable for the uses of discipline soon the repetition of guilt, justification, pseudo-scientific theories, superstition, spurious authorities, and classifications can be seen as the desperate effort to “normalize” formally the disturbance of a discourse of splitting that violates the rational, enlightened claims of its enunciatory modality.
But I wander… I suppose the bottom line would be: Come for the tango; leave before the profs start blathering.