'Natural’s Not In It': Music, Politics, and Social Identity in Nietzsche and Rousseau
Assistant Professor of Philosophy, UNC Charlotte
My research engages contemporary continental philosophy with musicology and popular music studies, feminist theory, and critical race/postcolonial theory. Some of my recent articles include “Autonomy, Universality, and Playing the Guitar: on non-ideal theory and using the ‘master’s tools’” in Hypatia, “Robo-Diva R&B” in The Journal of Popular Music Studies, and “In but not of, of but not in: taste, hipness, and white embodiment” inContemporary Aesthetics. My book The Conjectural Body: Gender, Race, and the Philosophy of Music is forthcoming from Rowman & Littlefield, and I am currently working on a manuscript tentatively titled “Baggy Pants, Bling, and Burkas: aesthetics and gender-race politics,” which reads Jacques Rancière’s work with and against women-of-color feminisms. I blog about popular music, feminism, and race at its-her-factory.blogspot.com.
"Natural’s Not In It": Music, Politics, and Social Identity in Nietzsche and Rousseau
Nietzsche and Rousseau are often (rightly) read as overtly and/or implicitly misogynist, Eurocentric, and generally normalizing privileged subject positions. Careful attention to both philosophers' discussions of music and music aesthetics reveals much more nuanced thinking about politics, privilege, and social identity. Both Nietzsche's revaluation of feminized popular music and Rousseau's privileging of melody over harmony are strategies employed to critique the very concepts of "truth" (in Nietzsche’s case) and "nature" (in Rousseau's case) that ground Western systems of gender and race privilege. Thus, it is in their music aesthetics that Nietzsche and Rousseau offer feminists, critical race theorists, queer theorists, and other theorists of social identity productive resources for thinking about identity, privilege, politics, and, of course, aesthetics.