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4- Selling the “Orient”: A Critique of “Arab”-influenced UDM in Toronto and Montreal - Jillian Fulton, York University

10:30 AM, Friday 24 May 2019 (2 hours)
Lunch   12:30 PM to 01:30 PM (1 hour)
Migrants from the Arab world in Canadian diaspora collectives are challenging normative identity politics through their Underground Dance Music (UDM) performances.Within this music culture, Iexplore the music’s performers and performative spaces in an aim to understand what identities are articulated, reinforced, and emerging. Using post-tarabas a framework for understanding the tensions in “Arab”-influenced UDM culture in Toronto and Montréal, I discuss UDM’s theoretical foundations as a safe space for people of colour and gender-queer individuals seeking shelter and to escape from their everyday lives, as well as the UDM community in opposition to mainstream club culture. I then critique these UDM genres of deep house and techno as selling the “Orient” as commodity, and taking away the safe space from the people who need it for their own exploration of self.My paper asks questions about “Arab”-influenced UDM in Toronto and Montréal, such as:How does“Arab”-influencedUDM production and performance shape the collective identities and narratives of “Arab” people in Toronto and Montréal today?This analysis also examinesthe ways in which these spaces evoke understandings of “Arab” identities. How do social actors from the “Arab world” identify with their “Arabness”? And how are their intersectional identities articulated, produced, and managed through the commodification of these UDM genres?
York University
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