What Type of Fan Are You?: Fan Hierarchy vs. Fan Continuum

Fan identity is at the heart of fandom studies, and one of the most contested issues revolves around differentiating types of fans based on their knowledge, behavior or both. Fan hierarchy and fan continuum are two concepts that attempt to answer this question, with different implications. In Understanding Fandom, Mark Duffett defines a fan as “a…

K-pop Music/Industry

Scholars can take very different approaches to K-pop. Doing so simultaneously contributes to the overall knowledge about the subject and shows significant gaps in scholarly examinations. Some focus on K-pop as a music industry propelled by fandom, while others examine its historical roots.

Boys in a Girl’s World: Men, Fandom and K-pop

The fandom for Hallyu-era Korean popular music (K-pop) is overwhelmingly female. However, a portion of it does involve men, both as participants and critics. How does that impact the way we may view the fandom? In “Girls’ Generation: Gender, (Dis)Empowerment, and K-pop,” Stephen Epstein and James Turnbull challenge what they call “the triumphant discourse of the…

New Orientalism or Old Hybridity?: Indian Music in K-pop

In “So Contagious: Hybridity and Subcultural Exchange in Hip-Hop’s Use of Indian Samples,” Sarah Hankins explores the sonic meaning of music from South Asia in African American music, specifically hip-hop. This made me wonder about the implications for K-pop, in light of its own practices in relation to hip-hop and its own cultural exchange with…

Does Music Compute?: Computational Approaches to Emotional Expression

In looking for critical approaches to emotional expression in music,  I discovered the work of Patrik N. Juslin, Anders Friberg and Roberto Bresin, who propose a computational model to analyze emotion is music. This computational model simultaneously de-emphasizes cultural meanings of music while providing a vocabulary to describe emotional expression in music. In “Toward a Computational Model of…

What is ‘Western’ Music?: Foreign Influences on K-pop

K-pop is well-known as a hybrid musical tradition, incorporating elements from musical traditions developed in locales outside of Korea, including Japan, Latin America and the United States. While some attribute some of the foreign elements to “Western” music, other scholars recognize the tremendous impact of distinct black American musical traditions. In “What Is the K…

Girl Culture, Individuals and Neoliberalism

As part of my research for my book project, Crazy/Sexy/Cool: Transnational Femininities in K-pop, I’ve been reading up on girl industries and girl cultures. Such scholarship invariably places these in a neoliberalist context, and this has a bearing on female K-pop groups.  On one hand, K-pop girl groups are created by Korean agencies to appeal…

Authenticity, Crossover and Rhythm and Blues

  Authenticity is a major theme in scholarship on rhythm and blues (R&B), which poses some interesting challenges for my work on how R&B travels transnationally.  Some writers define authenticity in R&B solely in terms of the experiences of African Americans, deeming crossover beyond the black community as pandering to the mainstream (read white people)….

Fandom, Consumption and Culture

Fan studies represents a nexus where economy and culture intersect, especially when cultural production crosses national borders.  Some scholars seek to explain this phenomenon primarily using socio-economic lenses, while others stress the importance of understanding fans in ways that fans understand themselves. In Understanding Fandom, Mark Duffett delineates two impulses related to consumption by fans: The…