Research Seminar with Jocelyne Guilbault

Jocelyne Guilbault (University of California, Berkeley) will be visiting us giving a talk on Party Music, Affect, and the Politics of Modernity. All welcome!

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Jocelyne Guilbault

As Danilyn Rutherford writes, “we need to think about power to understand affect.” She adds, “could it be that we also need to think about affect to understand the nature of power” (Ann Rev Anthropology 2016: 290)? Following this premise, this paper goes against the tendency to schematize and universalize emotions and affect. Instead, I argue for the need to address affect historically and ethnographically within the fields of power in which musical experience takes place.


This study focuses on the 2017 Road March song, “Full Extreme,” the song that played almost 500 more times than its closer competitor at the judging points during Carnival Tuesday in Trinidad (West Indies). I examine this song as an event to reveal the various forces that are at play in foregrounding simultaneously a “collective effervescence” (Durkheim 1995 [1912]) and the local tradition of calypso’s critical rhetoric. By exploring how it has galvanized massive support, I show how this song confronts what has been at the core of the exclusionist politics of modernity. I also call attention to what is called for not only to create mass appeal, but also to encourage public engagement and political debate in modern democracies.


Jocelyne Guilbault

is Professor of ethnomusicology at the University of California, Berkeley. Her work is concerned with power relations, global industrialization, labor practices, cultural politics of aesthetics, and work ethics in Caribbean popular musics. Stressing a multidisciplinary approach, she addresses these issues in the scholarly intersections of music, anthropology, cultural studies, and history. Her research in Saint Lucia, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Dominica, and Trinidad is reported in articles and in Zouk: World Music in the West IndiesGoverning Sound: the Cultural Politics of Trinidad's Carnival Musics, and Roy Cape: a Life on the Calypso and Soca Bandstand (co-authored with Roy Cape). Her latest project, co-edited with Timothy Rommen, is titled Sounds of Vacation: Political Economies of Caribbean Tourism (Duke U Press, August 2019).

Published Oct. 21, 2019 3:37 PM - Last modified Oct. 21, 2019 3:37 PM