“The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Disciplinary Listening Regimes amid Vulgar Sounds” by Professor Christine YANO

Project 5 “Critiquing Diversity” lecture series 2017 “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Disciplinary Listening Regimes amid Vulgar Sounds” by Professor Christine YANO

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Time and Date
6:00 - 7:30PM, Thursday, October 5, 2017
Collaboration Room 3, 4th Floor, Building 18, Komaba Campus, The University of Tokyo
Christine YANO (Professor of Anthropology, University of Hawai`i at Manoa)
Admission Free
No Registration Required
Organized by
the Educational Project 5 “Cultural Diversity and Imagination,” Integrated Human Sciences Program for Cultural Diversity, The University of Tokyo

Project 5 “Cultural Diversity and Imagination” is pleased to inform that we are inviting Professor Christine Yano to our lecture series 2017 “Critiquing Diversity”. Her academic interests range over diverse topics on popular culture among Japanese and Japanese Americans from Nisei Stewardesses to Hello Kitty. In this lecture she will be discussing the English Standard School System implemented from 1924 to 1960 in the United States, focusing on the case study of the practices of listening in Hawai`i. Please refer to the abstract below for details. We look forward to seeing you all at this event.


From 1924 to 1960, the U.S. territory and later state of Hawaii instituted a unique practice of segregation in its public schools, called the English Standard School System. By this system, children would be tested for their English language facility: those that passed the verbal test would be placed in select classes or schools; those that did not would be placed in regular educational settings. Initially proposed to the territorial government by white mothers who were concerned that their children enrolled in public schools not mingle unduly with non-whites, the system used language and its policing as a means of race-based segregation. This talk takes this case study from language as an example of “listening regimes” ── that is, states of order built around disciplinary practices of aurality. Such states of order advance a confluence of morality and aesthetics such that “being good” and “sounding good” overlap. More importantly, disciplinary listening regimes hierarchize sounds as the good, the bad, and the ugly, particularly targeting what might be called “vulgar sounds.” Through archival documents and interviews with former students, I examine ways by which listening for language use acted as a social and political gauge of assimilationist achievement in Hawai`i.

About the speaker

Christine YANO (Professor of Anthropology, University of Hawai`i at Manoa)

Major works:

  • Tears of Longing: Nostalgia and the Nation in Japanese Popular Song (Harvard, 2002)
  • Crowning the Nice Girl; Gender, Ethnicity, and Culture in Hawaii’s Cherry Blossom Festival (Hawaii, 2006)
  • Airborne Dreams: “Nisei” Stewardesses and Pan American World Airways (Duke, 2011)
  • Pink Globalization: Hello Kitty and its Trek Across the Pacific (Duke, 2013)
  • Straight A’s: Asian American Academic Achievement (Duke, forthcoming)

IHS students will be asked to submit a report essay after attending the lecture. By participating in this event, you acknowledge that pictures, video, and audio of the event may be used for the purpose of the program.