Karen Tongson: Lost in Transposition, or Karaoke for White Men


4:00 PM - 6:00 PM

The Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies presents
The Lynch Distinguished Lecturer Series

Karen Tongson
Associate Professor of English, Gender & Sexuality Studies, and American Studies & Ethnicity, University of Southern California

Thursday, January 30, 4:00-6:00pm
Jackman Humanities Building, Rm 100A
170 St. George St.

“Lost in Transposition, or Karaoke for White Men”

In recent decades, a narrative about karaoke has emerged in the broader cultural discourse that replicates what we’ve seen karaoke accomplish onscreen since the films Duets (2000) and Sofia Lost in Translation (2003). Karaoke has reassured white, mostly middle-aged heterosexual men that they, too, can love again, and truly live again despite suffering numerous heartbreaks and other devastating losses, not only of their beloveds, but more significantly, of themselves in the age of late capitalism. As Tongson argues in this presentation, these journeys through, if not actually towards sentimentality–these scripted yet sincere narratives of white-hetero-male-redemption in movies and books–are among the reasons karaoke has achieved such an astounding level of popularity, while earning contingent forms of mainstream acceptance in the United States since the turn of the millennium.

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