AKD - 2012

March 31, 2012
Posted by Jay Livingston

We had our annual Alpha Kappa Delta induction ceremony Thursday evening. ΑΚΔ is the sociology honor society, and the students who join are not only the best and brightest (ΑΚΔ has a minimum B+ average requirement), but they’re the ones who have some commitment to sociology.  They’re the ones we like to have in class.   At the ceremony, we get to see them a little more dressed up than usual, and we get to meet their parents, if only briefly.

From left to right
  • Pamella Salgado
  • Jessica McCabe
  • Francheska Martinez
  • Samantha Gowe
  • Nadia Ibrahim
  • Tiffany Holoubek
  • Brienna Rauhauser
  • Atika Rahaman
  • Benjamin Rhodes
Our speaker was Jenn Lena, author of the recently published Banding Together: How Communities Create Genres in Popular Music.  Jenn has done radio interviews about the book, but she says that this was her first “official” book talk.  She used rap as her example of a music that has evolved through the sequence of genre types – Avant Garde, Scene Based, Industry Based, and Traditional.  Good choice, I thought, it’s certainly something students will know. But I was surprised that it was only a few of the parents in the room who knew of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.  I also noticed one of those parents – and no one else in the room – rapping along quietly when Jenn played Run DMC’s “It’s Tricky.”   So rap now has a generation gap; it’s a “traditionalist” genre.  (Jenn also pointed out that it had a genre gap much earlier, with the arrival of gangsta and other variants.)

A great talk.  A great group of students.  A great evening. 
Same time next year.

UPDATE April 1:  After Jenn’s talk, it occurred to me that the Broadway show  “Million Dollar Quartet,” which I blogged about two years ago (here) is really about the transition from Scene-based to Industry-based.  The setting for the show is the scene-based studio of Sam Phillips’s Sun records, but we are looking at the end of an era.  Elvis and Johnny Cash are leaving for industry-based giants like RCA. 

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