Pirate radio & public housing: Larisa Mann speaks this Thursday 3/10

exilic cultural spaces

Our fabulous Visiting Research Fellow Larisa Mann is speaking this Thursday, March 10 at 3pm at the Fordham Law School. It’s free and open to the public!

Exilic cultural spaces: How public housing and state neglect in England allowed pirate radio to flourish—and why it matters

Larisa Kingston Mann

Fordham Law School 3-06

March 10, 3pm

In England, illegal, unlicensed radio broadcasting has especially served the needs of communities excluded or looked down on by dominant culture and often neglected by British state-run radio’s mission – including immigrants, ethnic minorities, working-class and Black communities, and youth. Pirate radio’s existence at the borders of legality (or beyond) has also allowed cultural practices to flourish that were not welcome in dominant or official media, including DJ culture that involves unlicensed musical reuse as a fundamental creative practice. At the same time, the music fostered by these broadcasts has been extremely influential in popular music, and pirate radio persists to this day in British cities despite the availability of web radio broadcasting. These stations’ main history is in public housing projects whose geography, architecture, and social context all served to protect and foster a vibrant and expressive culture. It’s possible that exclusion and illegality, especially when combined with specific aspects of public infrastructure, can help foster communities’ culture on their own terms. Taking this seriously requires that we also question the extent to which digital radio is as capable of meeting community needs, or whether it will be a paradoxically more hostile environment for musics of marginalized people.

Dr. Larisa Kingston Mann is a Visiting Research Fellow at the McGannon Center for Communication Research, Fordham University. She has a PhD in Jurisprudence & Social Policy from UC Berkeley Law School and a M.Sc in Economic History from the London School of Economics. Her research addresses the ways that marginalized communities carve out spaces for culture-making, especially the legal, technological and physical contexts that shape how those spaces get made. This has led her to study illegal musical events from warehouse parties to pirate radio, and to research that challenges dominant framings of the value of visibility or exposure in surveillance and privacy discourse. Her experience is also informed by 20 years as a DJ playing underground music in the North America, the Caribbean, Europe, and South America. She has most recently published in Communication, Culture and Critique, Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies and the Journal of Popular Music Studies.

Co-Sponsored by the Urban Law Center

We’re super excited about this talk and hope to see you there!

Visiting scholar Larisa Mann interview

Our fabulous Larisa Mann is interviewed about the vast number of international cover versions of Adele’s smash hit “Hello”:

“I think people like to kind of speak back to the dominance of English language pop, everywhere,” she told me. “And there’s kind of a thrill in doing that.”

Dr. Mann told me about an old practice in Jamaica — when people pressed records, they would include an instrumental track on the B-side — specifically so that those who bought it could sing the song themselves.

In March, Dr. Mann will be giving a lecture on her research on how public housing and state neglect in England allowed pirate radio to flourish and why it matters. We’ll post information once it’s finalized.