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The University of Southampton

Mark Katz Hartley Residency Seminar

Mark Katz
17 - 19 October 2017
Building 6, Room 1077 (Lecture Theatre A)

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Dr Amy Williamson at .

Event details

We are delighted to welcome Prof. Mark Katz (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) for our first Hartley Residency of the 2017-18 academic year. Prof. Katz will be with us for 17-18 October, and post-visit PGR seminars will take place on 19 October.


Day 1: Tuesday 17 October 2017

11:00–12:30, Room 6/1077: Introductory seminar for postgraduates. Material that students should read in advance will be circulated on or shortly after 2nd October.

14:00–15:30: One-to-one meetings between Mark Katz and PhD students (appointments should be arranged through Amy Williamson,

16:00-17:00: Room 6/1077: Formal presentation: Mark Katz, ‘The Power of Musical Diplomacy in a Divided World’ (Abstract below). Chair: Hettie Malcomson.

17:30: Drinks reception in the Arlott Bar

Day 2: Wednesday 18 October 2017

10:00-12:00: One-to-one meetings between Mark Katz and PhD students (appointments should be arranged through Amy Williamson,

14:00-15:30: Room 6/1077: Formal Presentation: Hettie Malcomson, ‘Narco rap: musicians, commissions and moral ambivalence’ (abstract below). Chair: Tom Irvine.

16:00-17:30: Room 6/1077: Closing roundtable: ‘Music and the Public Good’; Panelists: Mark Katz, Hettie Malcomson, Ben Oliver, Andrew Pinnock. Chair: Jeanice Brooks.

Day 3: Thursday 19 October 2017

09:00-11:00: PGR Interest Groups Meetings:

Music History and Theory to 1800: 02/2061
Music History and Theory 1800-present: 02/3041
Music and Technology: 04/2059

11.00-13.00, Room 6/1077: Training session for PGR students, ‘U. of Southampton PGR Regulations and Milestones’.

15.00-17.00, Room 6/1077: Training session for PGR students, ‘PGRs and publication’.



Prof. Mark Katz (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), 'The Power of Musical Diplomacy in a Divided World'.

For more 75 years the U.S. Department of State has been sending American musicians abroad to tour and teach, based on the belief that music is an effective means to promote 'people to people' diplomacy, in which citizens rather than government officials work to foster mutual understanding. In 2001, and after much internal debate, the State Department began deploying hip-hop artists as cultural ambassadors. In 2013 it established Next Level, a program that connects American hip-hop artists with youth in underserved communities around the world.

I have served as Director of Next Level since its inception, and have overseen programs in 19 countries. Based on this experience, and on nearly one hundred interviews with hip-hop artists and government officials, I argue that hip-hop – because of its global popularity, accessibility to those with few resources, and appealing mythos – is an effective means for finding common cause among people, especially youth, of different cultures. Although I acknowledge, and am often haunted by, the risks that attend U.S. cultural diplomacy, I believe in its potential for good and its continued relevance. Hip-hop, a voice of struggle and celebration worldwide, has the power to build global community at time when it is so desperately needed.

Dr Hettie Malcomson (University of Southampton). 'Narco rap: musicians, commissions and moral ambivalence'. 

Scholarship on narcomusic has focused primarily on commercial narcocorridos, rather than directly commissioned songs. Analyses of commissioned narcocorridos by Simonett (2001) and Burgos Dávila (2011) suggest that musicians producing directly commissioned songs simply do what narcos request. Drawing on empirical research, this paper contends, however, that negotiations in the process of production are key to understanding commissioned narcomusic. The paper draws on interviews with narco rap producers in Tamaulipas, Mexico, to explore how negotiations between narcos and rappers are managed, the pressures of participating in this genre, and the impact of this work on musicians’ lives. The paper also explores rappers’ moral ambivalences around doing this work.

Burgos Dávila, César Jesús (2011)  'Las Letras del Narcotráfico a Ritmo Norteño. Jóvenes Compositores de Narcocorridos', Revista Argentina de Estudios de Juventud, 4; 1-20.

Simonett, Helena (2001) Banda: Mexican Musical Life across Borders. (Middletown: Wesleyan University Press).

Speaker information

Professor Mark Katz, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. 'The Power of Musical Diplomacy in a Divided World'

Dr Hettie Malcomson ,'Narco rap: musicians, commissions and moral ambivalence'

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