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Jacqueline Jones, Chair 128 Inner Campus Dr., Stop B7000, GAR 1.104 Austin, TX 78712-1739 • 512-471-3261

Talk: "On Intimacy, Death, and Sound: Listening to Pop Songs about Abortion"

Fri, January 27, 2012 • 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM • GAR 1.102


The Department of History's Graduate Symposium on Gender, History, and Sexuality presents

"On Intimacy, Death, and Sound: Listening to Pop Songs about Abortion"

A talk by
Karl Hagstrom Miller, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of History, and
Butler School of Music Division of Musicology and Ethnomusicology
University of Texas at Austin

The History department's Graduate Symposium on Gender, History, and Sexuality presents is honored to present a talk by Professor Karl Hagstrom Miller on Friday, January 27th, from 12:00-2:00 p.m., in Garrison 1.102.

"Forget the familiar pro-life/pro-choice dichotomy. Listening to commercial pop songs reveals a much more complex public conversation about one of the most common and contested medical procedures of our time.  This multi-media presentation surveys the history of songs about abortion since Roe v. Wade.  Popular music has offered an alternative public sphere, enabling more nuanced, personal and contradictory depictions of abortion than those proffered in the traditional political sphere.   Artists such as P. J. Harvey, the Digable Planets, Common, and Jello Biafra penned songs that obliterated the hard line between party platforms—between rights and remorse, idealism and pragmatism, life and death—by depicting the ambiguities of abortion within individual women’s and men’s spiritual, familial, economic, and emotional lives.   Abortion songs offer a potent and illuminating avenue for exploring the possibilities of music to transform public discourse and open avenues of expression barred from the political realm.   They also offer abundant evidence of how people everyday experience abortion and the politics surrounding it.  Let’s listen."

Refreshments will be provided.

The Symposium on Gender, History, and Sexuality has been a fixture in Department of History since 2001, offering a forum for graduate students and faculty to present papers and works-in-progress for discussion in a relaxed and collegial atmosphere.

Free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Program Coordinators Valerie Ann Martinez (email) and Allison "Alley" Schottenstein (email)

Sponsored by: Graduate Symposium on Gender, History, and Sexuality, and the Department of History

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