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Remix | Reading and Writing DJ Culture


"last night a DJ saved my life" --Indeep (1982 song) In a moment that has been widely described being defined by "remix culture," what might we learn from the traditions and practices of the artists who gave us the remix? This course looks at the DJ as an crucial figure, a rhetor even, who influences both US and world culture and examines the DJ's practices as writing practices. From there we ask how other kinds of writing--public, academic, creative--can be informed by DJs and DJ culture. We will study specific practices like scratching, remixing, and the mixtape as well as different approaches and spaces in which DJs have shaped culture, from disco to Hip Hop to world music, from radio DJs to party DJs to beat-juggling and turntablism. In addition to our readings, viewings and work in class, participants in the course will be able to participate in a DJ workshop introducing basic techniques like mixing, and will attend at least 1 live DJ set in San Francisco or Oakland. The course will make turntables and a DJ controller available for students to work on mixes and DJ techniques live, in class.