Course Description and Context
Amber here, with a glimpse into the making-of The Harmony Show (THS) and its corresponding syllabus. As my Co-Creators Davecat, Sidore, and I describe on The Harmony Show’s About Page, Semester / Season One of THS expands our six yearlong series of discussions about the way the racialized Other is constructed and regarded in the predominantly white Doll world—from factory to forum—while also taking up sexual racism.
During Fall 2020, I shared this description, and further context for it, with scholars and artists I admire whose work I imagined could help us deepen our discussions. Fourteen scholars and artists such as Amber Jamilla Musser, Kareem Khubchani, Constantina Zavitsanos, Lily Mengesha, Vivian L. Huang, Ilana Harris-Babou, and Xiomara Sebastián Castro Niculescu responded to my prompt with a range of seminar sessions and corresponding reading and screening assignments from such thinkers and makers as Anne Anlin Cheng, K’egura Macharia, Alison Kafer, Jeremy O. Harris, Hortense Spillers and Rizvana Bradley, Franny Choi, and Eunjung Kim.
What resulted were twelve seminar sessions recorded on Zoom over the course of a four month semester (February–June 2021). During each session, seminar leaders led us through readings and screenings relevant to their own research areas. In preparation for each discussion, Davecat, Sidore, and I completed our assigned readings and screenings and arrived to Zoom sessions prepared with one question, one comment, and one quote pulled from each resource assigned.
A full list of seminar leaders and assignment authors can be found on our People Page and below.
After reaching out to potential seminar leaders during Fall 2020, I reached out to the mutual friends and collaborators that Davecat, Sidore, and I share from the iDollator community with the hope that they would each appear as guests on a related cooking show component of The Harmony Show. Eight guests from (or familiar with) the community accepted my invitation to appear, including Doll Maker and roboticist, Kino Coursey; photographer, Elena Dorfman; filmmaker, Allison de Fren; anonymous iDollator, Mahtek (who lives with a roboticized Doll named Sarah) and anonymous iDollators, Camp and Incred (who met online, discovered they lived only nineteen miles apart, and combined their extensive Doll collection in Incred’s basement in 2007).
I similarly reached out to Nicole of Heal Me Delicious, a scholar and Autoimmune Paleo Protocol (AIP) recipe developer whose food I love and whose academic work connects in several directions with the themes explored in Semester / Season One. What resulted was nine cooking show sessions recorded on Zoom during the course of our four month season. During cooking shows we invited our guests into conversations related to seminar research topics while I cooked and baked a selection of Nicole’s AIP recipes.
A full list of cooking show guests can be found on our People Page and below.
Screenings, Readings, and Recipes
The Weekly Schedule I have compiled below incorporates the readings and screenings assigned by seminar leaders for THS seminar sessions, as well as the Heal Me Delicious recipes cooked and baked during each THS cooking show episode. Davecat, Sidore, and I invite you to engage with each resource on its corresponding Episode Module on theharmonyshow.com. Before you begin your asynchronous experience, consider reviewing Olivia Michiko Gagnon and Lily Mengesha’s seminar The Limits of Touch: Race and Intimacy as an example of an Episode Module. Scroll through the page to find Olivia and Lily’s bios, the audio, video, and transcription components of the episode, the assigned content, and the show notes referencing further readings and resources.
Each Episode Module is linked below. Individual readings, screenings, and recipes are also available as independent links.
Module components are described below in the “How is The Harmony Show accessible to me” section.
While The Harmony Show is designed to be experienced sequentially (beginning with Week One and ending with Week Twenty-One), I invite you to engage in the way that most interests you and in the way that you find most energizing.
As the project’s initiator, I was interested in turning my own learning outward while spending time considering my interest in sites of belonging and protection that simultaneously function as spaces of violent exclusion. More than anything, I was interested in spending time as a learner with my friends Davecat and Sidore. I am immensely grateful to have done so, to Davecat and Sidore, and to everyone who made Semester / Season One possible.
Thoughts and Questions
I welcome your thoughts and questions about the content of The Harmony Show at email@example.com and on THS social media accounts.
How is The Harmony Show accessible to me?
The Harmony Show’s Access Guide is available here as a PDF.
Episodes of The Harmony Show are available in the following formats:
Open Captioned Video Episode embedded into theharmonyshow.com via Vimeo
- The Harmony Show captions are created by Wil Renderos of Audio Chemists with assistance from Henry Scharfe. When possible, our captions note key movements and body language.
- While audio description is not currently available for the entire length of our episodes, we have created a brief Audio Description Precap for each episode. Audio Description Precaps are available as separate audio-only files and can be found in each episode’s website module at theharmonyshow.com.
Audio Description Precap of Video Episode (separate from the video as an audio-only file) embedded into theharmonyshow.com via Soundcloud
- Davecat has audio described the key visuals of each episode with script assistance from Amber, Chantal Feitosa (The Harmony Show’s Alt-Text and Social Media Manager) and Maia Chao (The Harmony Show’s Video Capture & Digital Archive Manager + Alt-Text).
- Audio-Only Episode embedded into theharmonyshow.com via Soundcloud
- The Harmony Show Audio-Only Episodes were created by Wil Renderos and Henry Scharfe of Audio Chemists. They are identical to the audio of the Open Captioned Video Episodes.
Transcription of Episode (screen reader accessible) uploaded to theharmonyshow.com as a PDF
- The Harmony Show transcripts are identical to the captions that appear on the Open Captioned Video Episodes. They begin with a screen capture of the Open Captioned Video Episode and an image description of the screen capture.
In addition to episode transcripts, the a selection of the following textual information is available on each Episode Module:
- seminar leader and cooking show guest bios
- image descriptions of portraits of participants and photographs of food
- assigned reading and screening information and links
- recipe titles and links
- show notes that sometimes function as footnotes
- Episodes of The Harmony Show regularly include discussions of race, transness, queerness, disability, class, and gender. By extension, racism, transphobia, homophobia, ableism, classism, and sexism regularly come up. Incidents of violence depicted in news media and the existence of (and fear of) racialized and / or sexualized and / or gender-based violence experienced by the hosts and guests of The Harmony Show have been discussed in several episodes.
- Sex, descriptions of sex between Organiks (and sometimes between Organiks and Synthetiks), as well as the marketing of sexualized and racialized Dolls and Gynoids comes up in many episodes of The Harmony Show.
- Animal meat1 is sometimes prepared during cooking episodes.
- As an unaffiliated, web-based show, we sometimes use words disallowed by FCC guidelines.
We have not posted content notes for each episode. We honor that our show may not be a fit for all who encounter it. Generally, violent and sexually explicit content isn’t described in detail, and we are committed to approaching our subject matter with the utmost care.
We are open and eager to implement your feedback as we proceed. Should you have feedback and interest in / energy for sharing it, email firstname.lastname@example.org. As a reminder, opting out when necessary and taking a break while engaging with our episodes are always a possibility.
1 Certified organic pork and chicken and 100% grass-fed beef sourced at Wild Harmony Farm in Exeter, RI
Xiomara Sebastián Castro Niculescu
How Does It Feel to be Human?Race, Transness, and the Ends of Performance
- Lugones, María. “Toward a Decolonial Feminism.” Hypatia 25, no. 4 (2010): 742–59.
Please read pages 745-749.
- Musser, Amber Jamilla. “Introduction: Brown Jouissance and Inhabitations of the Pornotrope.” Sensual Excess: Queer Femininity and Brown Jouissance, 1-26. Sexual Cultures 51. New York: New York University Press, 2018.
Please read pages 5-15.
- Wynter, Sylvia. “The Ceremony Found: Towards the Autopoetic Turn/Overturn, Its Autonomy of Human Agency and Extraterritoriality of (Self-)Cognition.” In Black Knowledges/Black Struggles: Essays in Critical Epistemology, edited by Jason R. Ambroise and Sabine Broeck, 184–252. Liverpool, UK: Liverpool University Press, 2015. Please read pages 192-194.
In addition to the above, please read the documents Xiomara Sebastián Castro Niculescu prepared for Week One, Some Keywords for: María Lugones, “Toward a Decolonial Feminism” and Some Keywords for: Sylvia Wynter, “The Ceremony Found.”
Amber Jamilla Musser
Black Origins of the Universe
Musser, Amber Jamilla. “Surface Play: Flash, Friction, and Self-Reflection.” Sensual Excess: Queer Femininity and Brown Jouissance, 46-68. Sexual Cultures 51. New York: New York University Press, 2018.
Please read pages 46-68.
Guest Renato Velarde
One Pan Chicken Thighs with Apples
- Heal Me Delicious. “One-Pan Chicken Thighs with Apples.” November 2, 2020. https://healmedelicious.com/one-pan-chicken-thighs-with-apples/.
Guest Elizabeth Axtman
‘Chocolate’ Plantain Chip Cookies
- Heal Me Delicious. “‘Chocolate’ Plantain Chip Cookies.” December 10, 2020. https://healmedelicious.com/chocolate-plantain-chip-cookies/.
Son KitYellowness, Technology, and Missing Personhood
- Cheng, Anne Anlin. “Ornamentalism: A Feminist Theory for the Yellow Woman.” Critical Inquiry 44, no. 3 (2018): 415–46. https://doi.org/10.1086/696921.
Please read pages 415-446.
- Wu, Danielle. “Do Androids Dream of Whiteness? Yellowbotics and the Yellow Cyborg.” unbag, 2018. https://unbag.net/reverie/do-androids-dream-of-whiteness.
In addition to the above, you are welcome to also engage with the presentation materials Son Kit prepared for Week Five.
Aunties and Queer Kinship
- Khubchandani, Kareem. “Aunty Fever: A Queer Impression.” Essay. In Queer Dance: Meanings and Makings, edited by Clare Croft, 199–204. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2017.
Please read pages 199-204.
- Macharia, K’egura. 7 Scenes with Aunties — (and a Note on Method). Critical Aunty Studies, 2021. https://www.criticalauntystudies.com/02-enumerations.
- Sethi, Meera. Upping the Aunty, An Addendum. Critical Aunty Studies: An Asynchronous Symposium, 2021. https://www.criticalauntystudies.com/08-drag.
Guests Incred & Camp
Grilled Pork Chops with Cherry Compote
Sounds from the Other Side
- Powell, Elliott H. “Recovering Addict(Ive): The Afro–South Asian Sexual Politics of Truth Hurts’s ‘Addictive.’” Sounds from the Other Side: Afro-South Asian Collaborations in Black Popular Music, 105–122. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2020. https://doi:10.5749/j.ctv19cw9tz.
Please read pages 105-122.
The Ugly Laws
- Kafer, Alison. “At the Same Time, Out of Time; Ashley X.” Feminist, Queer, Crip, 47-68. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2013.
Please read 47-68.
In addition to the above, please review the presentation materials Constantina Zavitsanos prepared for Week Eleven. Links to captioned videos are contained in the PDF. Please watch, read or listen to each.
Midterm with Davecat, Sidore, & Amber
Peach Ginger Chicken Wings
Looking with the Erotic
Lily Mengesha & Olivia Michiko GagnonRace and Intimacy
The Limits of Touch
- Harris, Jeremy O. Slave Play. American Theatre Magazine. September/August 2019, 38-67.[A PDF of Jeremy O. Harris’ Slave Play is not available on theharmonyshow.com, however, a synopsis is contained during the seminar session and is available on the Wikipedia entry on Slave Play.]
- Studium Generale Rietveld Academie. “To the Bone: Some Speculations on Touch, Hortense Spillers, with Rizvana Bradley.” YouTube. June 27, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvL4wUKIfpo.
Vivian L. Huang
Silence and Asian Femininity
- Choi, Franny. “What a Cyborg Wants.” Waxwing Literary Journal: American Writers and International Voices, 15:21, 2018. http://waxwingmag.org/items/issue15/21_Choi-What-a-Cyborg-Wants.php.
- Huang, Vivian L. “Inscrutably, Actually: Hospitality, Parasitism, and the Silent Work of Yoko Ono and Laurel Nakadate.” Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory, 28:3, 2018: 187-203. https://doi.org10.1080/0740770X.2018.1524619.
Please read pages 187-203.
- Vabethany. “Yoko Ono - Cut Piece (1965).” YouTube. February 28, 2013. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYJ3dPwa2tI&ab_channel=vabethany.
(After this video was assigned it was removed from YouTube. Another version is available on Vimeo here.)
Guests Allison de Fren & Elena Dorfman
Peppermint Patty Cupcakes
Neda Atanasoski & Kalindi Vora
- Atanasoski, Neda, and Kalindi Vora. “The Surrogate Human Affect: The Racial Programming of Robot Emotion.” Surrogate Humanity Race, Robots, and the Politics of Technological Futures, 108-133. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2019.
Please read pages 108-133.
- Atanasoski, Neda, and Kalindi Vora. “Epilogue: On Technoliberal Desire, Or Why There Is No Such Thing as a Feminist AI.” Surrogate Humanity Race, Robots, and the Politics of Technological Futures, 188-196. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2019.
Please read pages 188-196.
Guest Nicole of Heal Me Delicious
Stuffed Sweet Potato Cakes
- Heal Me Delicious. “AIP Stuffed Sweet Potato Cakes.” February 15, 2021. https://healmedelicious.com/stuffed-sweet-potato-cakes/.
Final with Davecat, Sidore, & Amber
- Heal Me Delicious. “Banana Milkshake.” September 23, 2020. https://healmedelicious.com/aip-banana-milkshake/.
- Kim, Eunjung. “Why Do Dolls Die? The Power of Passivity and the Embodied Interplay Between Disability and Sex Dolls.” In Pedagogy, Image Practices, and Contested Corporealities, edited by Sarah Brophy and Janice Hladki, 20-32. New York: Routledge, 2015.
Please read pages 20-32.