Joshua D. Pilzer (University of Toronto)
This talk is my attempt to work through one of the foundational ideas in my book project about the expressive lives of Korean victims of the atomic bombings of Japan and their children, many of whom live with radiation-related illnesses and disabilities. I am a music scholar--an ethnomusicologist, to be precise--but the majority of the people I work with, for many reasons which I explain here, do not prioritize the medium of music as a means of dealing with the past and sustaining their present life. So I find myself listening to stories and testimony like I would listen to music, and watching social behaviors like I would appreciate dance. In this talk I ask whether this is a legitimate perspective to encounter the world, and what it will yield. In so doing I attempt to contribute to the discussion of traumatic memory, finding ways to expand the study of memory beyond text. I focus especially on the medium of testimony, as a means of remembering, and as a means of self-making vis-?-vis public cultural memory.