Shana Goldin-Perschbacher Colloquium

October 20, 2017 - 3:30pm
Old Cabell Hall 107

The McIntire Department of Music a colloquium by Shana Goldin-Perschbacher entitled “TransAmericana and Queer Sincerity: Gender and Genre in Contemporary Folk Music" on Friday, October 20th, 2017 in 107 Old Cabell Hall. This event is free and open to the public.

Over the last forty-five years, at least one hundred bands with transgender and/or queer members have recorded country and American roots music. This type of music and the places it typically depicts and is performed may seem like unlikely choices for these musicians.  But recent work addresses the long history of queer and transgender people living in these communities and challenges facile understandings of the operations of bigotry and LGBT experience in American life and music (Gray 2009, Herring 2010, Hubbs 2014 and 2015, and Deratany, Stevens, and Wooden 2017).  Drawing on my ethnographic and analytical engagement since 2004 with this music, I argue that country and Americana genres’ fraught framing of naturalness, journey, and community (concepts especially important to and actively debated among transgender and queer people) are appealing to craft stories of self, yet simultaneously invite critique of tradition. My argument poses a gendered and sexuality-based version of Benjamin Filene’s assessment of folk music’s “outsider populism” in which fellow citizens are simultaneously othered through race, class, and geography, and then, ironically, positioned as exemplary “common people” (2000). I identify musicians’ aesthetic of “queer sincerity,” an articulation of a central facet of country and folk truthfulness, and an approach to queer musicking which allows space for camp but is not defined by it. “Queer sincerity” helps these musicians craft their professional personae as well as to critique others’ appropriations. In the process, the project takes seriously a brilliant musical body of work inspired and yet simultaneously ghettoized by its perceived difference from both mainstream articulations of these genres and powerful musical myths about North America.“Hurray for the Riff Raff playing at World Cafe Live, Philadelphia, April 21, 2017, by Shana Goldin-Perschbacher.”

Dr. Shana Goldin-Perschbacher, a specialist in interdisciplinary popular music studies and identity studies, joined the Boyer faculty in 2014. Motivated by musical articulations of social justice issues, her explorations of contemporary sonic, visual, and social media take shape through critical, ethnographic, analytical, and historical methods. She has published in Popular Music, Women and Music, The Grove Dictionary of American Music, Oh Boy!: Masculinities and Popular Music, the Journal for the Society for American Music, and the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Queerness and Music. She has presented at conferences including the American Musicological Society, the Society for Ethnomusicology, the International Association for the Study of Popular Music, the Experience Music Project, the American Studies Association, and Feminist Theory and Music.  Her current research examines transgender and queer performances of Americana through the lens of queer sincerity.


At Temple, Goldin-Perschbacher teaches courses for music majors, non-majors, and graduate students in popular music, critical theory (especially engaging issues of identity in relation to the arts and popular culture), interdisciplinary music methodologies, and other music topics.


Goldin-Perschbacher was the first queer studies postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University, the postdoctoral fellow in music in the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in the Humanities at Stanford, and a lecturer in LGBT Studies at Yale University. She graduated from the first class of Ph.D. students in Critical and Comparative Studies in Music at the University of Virginia where her dissertation was supported by an American Association of University Women fellowship.  As an undergraduate at the University of Michigan she studied viola performance, English literature, and visual art, and remains an active amateur chamber musician.


Shana's essay “TransAmericana: Gender, Genre, and Journey,” drawn from this book in progress, was commissioned for a special issue of New Literary History and won the 2016 Marcia Herndon Award from the Society for Ethnomusicology.

Old Cabell Hall is located on the south end of UVA's historic lawn, directly opposite the Rotunda.  (map) Parking is available in the central grounds parking garage on Emmet Street, in the C1 parking lot off McCormick Rd, and in the parking lots at the UVA Corner.  Handicap parking is available in the small parking lot adjacent to Bryan Hall.

All programs are subject to change.

For more information please call the McIntire Department of Music at 434.924.3052.


UVA Department of Music
112 Old Cabell Hall
P.O. Box 400176 Charlottesville, VA 22904-4176