Contacts, Collisions, Conjunctions at Hong Kong University

Last week, new research from the Marie Curie-funded ‘Music, Technologies, and Modern Selfhood‘ project was presented at the HKU Society of Fellows conference ‘Contacts, Collisions, Conjunctions‘ by Emily MacGregor:

I was thrilled to present at the inaugural conference of the Hong Kong University Society of Fellows in the Humanities. The paper, titled ‘A Train Ride through Kurt Weill’s American Imaginary’, was the first outing of some archival research I did last summer on the spectacular Weill production Railroads on Parade at the 1939-40 World’s Fair in New York. Railroads staged the story of the US railroad—to give a sense of its scale, it featured 20 actual railroad cars, as well as boats, horses, oxen, and a cast of some 250. Over the past few months, I’ve been thinking about how the work weaves together discourses associated with technology, geography, masculinity, and exile experience to produce a racially curated vision of the US past. Amidst a techno-futurist World’s Fair whose theme was ‘Building the World of Tomorrow’, such a vision of the past seemed integral to the broader futuristic sociotechnical imaginary (Jasanoff and Kim, 2015) the fair sought to construct.

Thanks to all the Fellows for welcoming us to Hong Kong, and for organising and facilitating an extraordinarily generative interdisciplinary conversation.


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