“Retromania”: Tendencies of Nostalgia in Electronic Dance Music Cultures

Dr. Anita Jóri
“Retromania”: Tendencies of Nostalgia in Electronic Dance Music Cultures

Seminar, English, 2 SWS, 2 ECTS
Thursdays, 10 -14 h, bi-weekly: 27.04., 11.05., 25.05., 08.06., 22.06., 06.07., 20.07.2023, Grundewaldstr. 2-5, room 110

Registration on Moodle starts on the 17th of April / Anmeldung auf Moodle beginnt am 17.4.2023: https://moodle.udk-berlin.de/moodle/course/view.php?id=1836
Moodle Enrollment Key / Einschreibeschlüssel: synthesizer

Rave. Detroit. Vinyl. Chicago. Acid house. Analog synthesizers. Italo disco… – They are all keywords to those who think that the “real” years of Electronic Dance Music Cultures (EDMCs) were the good old 1980s and early 1990s. On the other hand, if we think of the members of the early scenes, they were highly influenced by progressive and futuristic technological ideas. But how can Electronic Dance Music scenes develop retrospective trends, when at the same time they define themselves by their progressive cultural and technological potentials? What does nostalgia mean in general? Does it have to do anything with ageing? And how can nostalgic and progressive cultural tendencies go hand in hand?

To answer these questions, the seminar analyzes different “retro phenomena” in EDMCs. For example, we take a closer look at the current popularity of early analogue synthesizers, such as the Roland TB-303; we analyze (and potentially visit) Berlin-based party series, which aim to revisit the so-called “authentic” rave feeling; and we also take a look at music genres, such as Italo disco, EBM, etc. and their revival, and also newer Internet genres, such as Vaporwave, Mallsoft, etc. that are themed after earlier electronic music to generate nostalgic feelings.
To understand these cultural phenomena, the participants are asked to read selected texts from cultural studies, popular music studies, and sociology.

Boym, S. (2001). The Future of Nostalgia. New York: Basic Books.
Reynolds, S. (2011). Retromania: pop culture’s addiction to its own past. London: Faber and Faber.

Requirements for the ungraded Studium Generale credits: Holding a presentation or writing a short essay.

Anita Jóri is a post-doc research associate at the Vilém Flusser Archive, Berlin University of the Arts (Universität der Künste Berlin, UdK). She is also a curator at CTM Festival's Discourse programme. Jóri's research and publications focus on the discursive and terminological aspects of electronic dance music culture. She is also the author of the monograph The Discourse Community of Electronic Dance Music (transcript, 2022) and one of the editors of The New Age of Electronic Dance Music and Club Culture (Springer, 2020), Musik & Empowerment (Springer, 2020) and Musik & Marken (Springer, 2022).