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.