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Gholz, Carleton (2011) "WHERE THE MIX IS PERFECT": VOICES FROM THE POST-MOTOWN SOUNDSCAPE. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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In recent years, the city of Detroit's economic struggles, including its cultural expressions, have become focal points for discussing the health of the American dream. However, this discussion has rarely strayed from the use of hackneyed factory metaphors, worn-out success-and-failure stories, and an ever-narrowing cast of characters. The result is that the common sense understanding of Detroit's musical and cultural legacy tends to end in 1972 with the departure of Motown Records from the city to Los Angeles, if not even earlier in the aftermath of the riot / uprising of 1967. In "'Where The Mix Is Perfect': Voices From The Post-Motown Soundscape," I provide an oral history of Detroit's post-Motown aural history and in the process make available a new urban imaginary for judging the city's wellbeing. To do this I utilize archival research and interviews in order to recover the life stories of a group of Detroiters in their struggle to change and be changed by Detroit's soundscape during the post-Motown era. A diachronic study, my dissertation starts by revisiting Detroit's role in the modern soundscape from musicians, dancers, promoters, and critics who experienced the city's numerous ballrooms and clubs, listened to its charismatic radio DJs, and produced its studio-driven sound. However, as my dissertation proceeds, I pay special attention to the emergence of a new soundscape in the 1970s with a new set of heroes—club DJs—and an audience that both reflected and resisted the racial, sexual, and class hierarchies of the period. Detroiters experienced the impact of this subterranean population in the ensuing years as the genres of disco, hip hop, house, and techno emerged and the city's residents mixed together as they had rarely done before or since.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairZboray, Ronaldzboray@pitt.eduZBORAY
Committee MemberWeintraub, Andrewanwein@pitt.eduANWEIN
Committee MemberMalin, Brentbmalin@pitt.eduBMALIN
Committee MemberReid-Brinkley, Shanarasrb@pitt.eduSRB
Committee MemberFusfield, Williamfusroy@pitt.eduFUSROY
Date: 29 June 2011
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 11 April 2011
Approval Date: 29 June 2011
Submission Date: 19 April 2011
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Communication: Rhetoric and Communication
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: detroit; oral history; post motown; soundscape
Other ID:, etd-04192011-113957
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:39
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:41


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