Over the past year I have been enjoying the fruits of being a co-applicant of a successful SSHRC Connection grant. Our research team, called The Fourchettes, has been holding seminars and workshops all year dealing with the theme of Critical Methods in Technoculture. (Find out more about all of the members here.) Now I have the opportunity to hold a seminar at Carleton University. Click here for the event poster!


So what is Critical Karaoke? Good question …

Academic conference talks are typically designed to claim authority, precision, dispassion, and argument. Critical Karaoke permits us to gently experiment with these well-worn conventions. Poet and critic Joshua Clover introduced the phrase ‘critical karaoke’ to highlight how we might re-signify cultural material through the eye and voice of the critic, and present that gesture alongside cultural material in a consciously performative way. “The conceit,” said Clover, “was this: you get to talk about a single song, for the length of the song, while the song is playing behind you.” Clover debuted critical karaoke at the Experience Music Project in Seattle.

Critics always re-signify, but can we, like Clover, integrate our perspectives with cultural forms, rather than speaking separately about them? Can we use speech, gestures, sound, image, editing, rhythm, and even improvisational moves to communicate analytic and affective meanings? Buoyed by rehearsal and experimental spirit, can we mix modes of address, hail our audience, and work out the effect of critical form on content? Does our work change when we change how we talk about it? With such an experiment, we know to expect uncertainty and exposure, and our willingness to endure those qualities in the name of process is no guarantee of depth. But, we learn by doing.

Critical Karaoke sessions have taken place at several conferences, including the 2015 International Communication Association (ICA) and the 2016 Canadian Communication Association (CCA), and another is scheduled for the 2017 Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS). Now, as part of The Fourchettes SSHRC-funded Critical Methods in Technoculture Seminars, we are happy to announce this Critical Karaoke seminar, which will include performances and discussion, followed by a graduate workshop.


On January 19, 2017, all events will take place in the Human Computer Interaction (HCI) Building, Room 4110, at Carleton University.


Critical Karaoke Seminar Speakers: 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Dr. Lisa Henderson, Professor of Communication, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Dr. Ummni Khan, Joint Chair of Women’s Studies, Carleton University & the University of Ottawa
Dr. Merlyna Lim, Canada Research Chair, School of Journalism & Communication, Carleton
Dr. Rena Bivens, Assistant Professor, School of Journalism & Communication, Carleton
With introductory remarks from Melodie Cardin, Antonella Pucci, and Dr. Mélanie Millette (UQAM)


Graduate Student Workshop: 1:20pm – 2:20pm
The Graduate Workshop is aimed at helping students who are interested to create their own Critical Karaoke presentations to be included in a special panel at the CGC Graduate Conference, Imagined Realities, to be held March 16-17, 2017.

Food and refreshments will be served.


This seminar is supported by SSHRC, with additional funding and support from the Faculty of Public Affairs, 1125@Carleton, and the Office of the Vice-President (Research and International).



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