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Thinking Spaces with ICASP Postdoctoral Fellow, Mark Laver

Please join us for the next meeting of the Thinking Spaces Reading Group on February 8, 2013 from 3-5pm in the public library at 100 Norfolk Street. Our guest speaker will be Mark Laver, a postdoctoral fellow with ICASP at the University of Guelph. Laver's talk will discuss his work, "Freedom of Choice: Jazz, Neocolonialism, and the case of Jazz at Lincoln Centre Doha".

The following is a synopsis, from Laver, of what promises to be an engaging, provocative, and topical discussion:

In the coming months, Jazz at Lincoln Centre will be opening a new jazz palace in the St. Regis Hotel in Doha, Qatar – opened in April 2012. J@LC Doha will be the first high profile jazz club in the Middle East, and will be the first in a series of four J@LC/St. Regis venues in Europe and Asia scheduled to open over the next five years. These will be modeled on Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, the Jazz at Lincoln Center club-style venue on the 5th floor of J@LC’s Frederick P. Rose Hall facilities in the Upper West Side Manhattan Time Warner Center. While the sponsorship relationship with St. Regis (a subsidiary of the hospitality multinational, Starwood Hotels) certainly represents a tremendous financial windfall for the organization, J@LC artistic director Wynton Marsalis insists that his priority will be “to spread American culture and to introduce new audiences to jazz.” While Marsalis rhetorically annexes Starwood’s sponsorship dollars from the J@LC cultural evangelism that Starwood’s dollars enable, I argue that it is precisely the confluence of cultural and corporate interests through the J@LC that demands scrutiny. Despite Marsalis’s protestations of ideological purity, I propose that the case of J@LC Doha shows us exactly how free market economics and jazz-based American cultural imperialism have become increasingly inseparable. I argue that the J@LC-Starwood relationship represents the new corporate face of American neocolonialism.

Please spread word of this Thinking Spaces event with your friends, family, colleagues, and co-workers. This week's discussion is sure to prove interesting for jazz heads and anyone interested in salient critiques of neoliberalism. As always, we would love to see more community members at the meetings, from Guelph and beyond, so please join us no matter where it is you're travelling from.

The Thinking Spaces series will continue with meetings on March 8 (featuring renowned musicologists Susan McClary and Rob Walser), March 22 (Graduate Student Colloquium), April 5 (Tanya Williams), and April 12 (Matt Brubeck).

Listening itself, an improvisative act engaged in by everyone, announces a practice of active engagement with the world, where we sift, interpret, store and forget, in parallel with action and fundamentally articulated with it ("Mobilitas Animi" 113).

– George E. Lewis