School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences University of Birmingham

Place, Self and Connection through Music: A Case Study of Sufjan Stevens ‘Illinois’ and Illinois.

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Michael Anton 616200

Submitted in accordance with requirements for B.A. Single Honours in Geography I confirm that the number of words is 10,000 excluding abstract, acknowledgements, table of contents, references, bibliography, appendices and quotations from interview material I declare that this piece of work is all my own and that any work by others has been acknowledged Signed: ………..………………………….. Date: ………….………………….


The study of music in geography has seen a great increase in the past decades, allowing academics to consider its relevance to a number of different aspects of human life. In this report I take three of these aspects, place, self and connection and look at the ways in which one album, Sufjan Stevens ‘ILLINOIS’, explores these geographical concepts through his music and through my own journey though Illinois the State and ‘ILLINOIS’ the album. Taking a Humanist perspective I delve into the personal, emotional and intimate moments and relationships that shape my journey(s) and present my results in a first person perspective that illustrates these moments through a combined use of different writing styles, imagery and musical accompaniment. Beginning with a detached exploration of both the literary and methodological contexts for my research this report then begins the documentation of my journey. At first it seems as if ‘ILLINOIS’ and my experiences of Illinois and its inhabitants match up perfectly. However, as my own sense of displacement in relation to my research process grows larger I begin to look inwards for the answers to the questions I’m faced with. Finally I decide that it is only through embracing the personal emotions of estrangement and displacement created by my research that I can truly document the understanding of the place I occupy and how music has transformed, manipulated and created such place.


Oh Great Fire of Great Disaster Oh Great Heaven, Oh Great Master Oh Great Goat, the curse you gave us Oh Great Ghost, protect and save us Oh Great River, green with envy Oh Jane Addams, spirit send thee Oh Great Trumpet and the singers Oh Great Goodman, King of Swingers Oh Great Bears and Bulls, Joe Jackson Oh Great Illinois Thanks Sufjan, Mum, Dad, Karl, Nora, my housemates, my friends, Jo Southworth, Mary Todd and, of course, Illinois.


Table of contents
Section A
1 Introduction ................................................................................................. 1
1.1 1.2 New Years Eve .................................................................................................................. 1 Structure ........................................................................................................................... 3


Literature Review ......................................................................................... 4
2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Music and Geography ....................................................................................................... 4 Place.................................................................................................................................. 6 Self and Identity................................................................................................................ 9 Connection, Disconnection............................................................................................. 11


Methodology ............................................................................................. 13
3.1 3.2 Philosophical Approach .................................................................................................. 13 Collection ........................................................................................................................ 13 Project outline ........................................................................................................ 14 Ethnography ............................................................................................................ 14 Participant Observation and Informal Interviews .................................................. 15 Subjective Personal Introspection and Reflexive Ethnography ............................... 16 Recording................................................................................................................. 16

3.2.1 3.2.2 3.2.3 3.2.4 3.2.5 3.3 3.4

Analysis .......................................................................................................................... 17 Limitations ...................................................................................................................... 17


Section B
4 5 Preface ....................................................................................................... 20 Come on! Feel the Illinoise! ........................................................................ 21
5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Oh Great White City ....................................................................................................... 21 Karl, Nora, Sufjan and I ................................................................................................... 26 Chicago, In Fashion, the ‘Soft’ Drinks, Expansion........................................................... 30 The Sears Tower ............................................................................................................. 37 A Short Reprise for Mary Todd, Who Went Insane, but for Very Good Reasons .......... 41 I Am Writing All Alone .................................................................................................... 43


I Can’t Explain, the State that I’m In ........................................................... 46
6.1 6.2 6.3 Celebrate the New .......................................................................................................... 49 It Can Only Start With You .............................................................................................. 49 Concerning the UFO Sighting near Highland, Illinois...................................................... 51

7 8

Bibliography ............................................................................................... 52 Appendix.................................................................................................... 60
8.1 8.2 8.3 ‘Illinois’ Track Listing ....................................................................................................... 60 Contents of CD Accompaniment .................................................................................... 61 Rose’s Ethnographic Checklist ........................................................................................ 62


List of Figures
Figure 1: Map showing my route across Illinois ........................................................................... 14 Figure 2: Diagram showing the line between participation and observation ............................. 15 Figure 3: Photo of a cross-road in central Chicago ....................................................................... 22 Figure 4: Photo of a suburban street in Chicago .......................................................................... 23 Figure 5: Photo of Millennium Park in Chicago ............................................................................ 24 Figure 6: Photo of the Chicago Tribune building .......................................................................... 25 Figure 7: Photo showing Karl in the Matisse ................................................................................ 30 Figure 8: Photo showing the sign for the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel ................................................ 32 Figure 9: Image showing the design of t-shirt .............................................................................. 32 Figure 10: Photo showing the view up the Sears Tower ............................................................. 37




Michael Anton

Registration No



Chapter 1: Introduction

1 Introduction
1.1 New Years Eve
On the 31st of December 2005 a friend handed me a C.D. and said, ‘You do Geography, have a listen to this.’ I did and from the very first play it captivated my attention. Here was something so obviously geographical but so beautiful, complex and personal; I had to know more about it. The C.D. was ‘ILLINOIS’ by Sufjan Stevens1 and when the opportunity to actually travel to Illinois presented itself I couldn’t turn it down.

It is this trip that forms the core of this dissertation. In its conception the trip conformed to a rigid set of objectives. However, as I began to read around the subject and explore the methodology it became apparent that such an approach would only serve to limit my exploration. Boundaries needed to be set, but they needn’t be set in stone.

Sufjan Stevens (born 1975) is an American singer/songwriter currently working on what he calls ‘The 50 State Project’, a scheme that would see him record 50 albums, one for each state of America. His fifth full length album, and second in the Project is ‘ILLINOIS’; a 22 track album about people, places and events within the American Midwest State of Illinois. The album was mainly written through a period of ethnographic research and personal introspection, during which Sufjan lived in Illinois attempting to encode his experiences of the state and interactions with others into musical form. Lyrically the tracks that make up the album are a blend of narrative, poetry, factual description and first person ‘journal like’ entries. The variety of instruments used is a wide, but distinctly western, blend, with a reliance on melody driven, guitar, piano and banjo lead sounds. However the album is not a total representation of the state, when asked about what the album was about Sufjan Stevens replied ‘It’s not meant to represent particular regions with historical authority, of course. I’m not an anthropologist. It’s really about narrative, using details and nuances of a particular place to evoke the human condition’ (Odland, 2004) See Appendix 8.1 for a full tracklisiting of ‘ILLINOIS’.



Chapter 1: Introduction I decided the aims and objectives of my project should be theoretical, rather than practical and that my inspiration should be taken from Sufjan himself. His album seemed to focus on three main things, place, self and connection and so would I. I would try to explore the ‘place’ of both the music and the State itself, I would try to see what made Illinois different to other places and what made Sufjans ‘ILLINOIS’ a representation of this place. I would consider the role of ‘self’ and ask myself and the residents of Illinois just what it meant to ‘be’ in a place, to find out how the concept of ‘I’ related to the places we experience it in and how place and music changes how we feel about ourselves. I would try to expose the connections felt by myself and the people I met to both place and music and try to identify where these connections overlapped and intertwined, or where they seemed strangely absent or hidden. Everywhere I looked I found encouragement, the journals and books I read seemed to yell about how such a trip needed to be undertaken and that music was just begging for new variations of geographical analysis; A discursive approach to place-identity will require forms of analysis beyond the analysis of language. (Dixon & Durrheim, 2000, p. 44) This was just what I wanted to do! To look at how our surroundings and our selves are really created, not through plain words, but through another, totally different, sense. Our accomplishments in exploring the geographic dimensions and implications of that uniquely human, mysteriously indefinable phenomenon we call music have been rather rudimentary. (Zelinsky quoted in Hudson, 2006, p. 626) I would go to Illinois and I would try to make more than a rudimentary exploration of music. I would make music the very heart of my research, allowing its influence to branch out into every aspect of this project.


Chapter 1: Introduction

1.2 Structure
The order and layout of this report is based on a modified version of Prendergasts (2004) ‘Typical Outline of an Ethnographic Research Publication’ and Boyle and Flowerdews (2005) proposed research project structure. Section A contains a ‘traditional’ Literature Review and the Methodology. Section B (the analysis) is autobiographical, inspired by my exposure to border pedagogy (Cook, 1996), it incorporates Prendergasts descriptions of the ‘field site / fieldwork experience’ draws upon Cook and Crang’s (1995) coding process, Rose’s (1990) ethnographic checklist (see Appendix 8.3) and Fabian’s (1983) ethnographic present tense. It also uses realist, confessional and impressionist styles of ethnographic writing (Maanen, 1988). More detail on this section is provided in the ‘Preface’.


Chapter 2: Literature Review

2 Literature Review
There are four themes I wish to consider in my Literature Review: The importance of music to the field of geography and the ways in which the ‘aural geography’2 has grown, the concept I want to use music to address, which is place, the geographical relevance of self and identity and their relationship with place and lastly, how regional identities manifest contact zones and the connections/disconnections associated with such contact.

2.1 Music and Geography
Often overshadowed in geographical literature by a dependence on the visual and it’s widely documented turn in the 1990s (Jay, 2002), (Thornes, 2004), the aural nevertheless has recently seen great advancement in field of Geography. The 1993 conference “The Place of Music” marks a turning point in the sub-discipline, bringing attention to the role of music in everyday life to all disciplines seeking to explore culture and society (Kong, 1995). This ‘turn’ is discussed by Smith (1997), who suggests that; Hearing seems especially pertinent to experiencing the environment. The sound of music thus offers an appealing route into those geographies which lie beyond the visible world. (Smith, 1997, p. 504) The scope present in ‘aural geography’ today is vast, ranging from detached explorations into the spatial reconfiguration of music distribution with the advent of the internet, allowing music to divorce itself from the geography of production location (Jones, 2002), to personal accounts considering the ways in which the consumption of music affects local matters (Carroll & Connell, 2000) or the researcher themselves (Shankar, 2000).

By ‘Aural Geography’, I refer a branch of geography focussed predominantly on research into audio media as well as the human sense of hearing and all processes and history behind the production and consumption of ‘sound’ and music.


Chapter 2: Literature Review It is the latter that bears most relevance to my research into ‘ILLINOIS’. Work in this ‘personal’ field by Connell often sees the use of very specific musical examples to illustrate detailed local/personal arguments. Connell and Carroll argue that; An enriched understanding of culture and space can be developed through careful examination of both lyrical texts and the activities of particular bands. (Carroll & Connell, 2000, p. 142) They use such a stance to deconstruct the music of ‘The Whitlams’. Using the music itself and the actions of the band outside the recording studio they argue that music is more than a backdrop to, but an integral part of, the human urban experience and a record of the factors that make up such an experience. The ‘stance’ used by Carroll and Connell appears in articles that focus on the interrelations between space, place and identity, such as when Valentine (1995) considers the creation of lesbian space and identity through the music of ‘kd lang’. She argues that ‘langs’ music is an essential component of creating and maintaining selfimage within the lesbian community, and that It can also be used to create ‘gay friendly’ space in otherwise heterosexual environments in ways unobtainable though other forms of interaction and consumption. The creation of new space is a quality that commonly crops up in discussion of music, Valentine (1995) suggests that music has the ability; To transport a listener away, to be somewhere else with someone else. (Valentine, 1995, p. 483) This transportation is called ‘vicarious contact’ by Connell and Gibson (2004), and can be traced back to the 1950s when there was a desire to consume foreign music as a form of escapism to distant because, even though such travel was possible it was prohibitively expensive. They argue that such ‘vicarious tourism’ created a symbiotic relationship between the consumer and the places from which the music originated so that;


Chapter 2: Literature Review Places aided the construction of the music as distinctive and authentic, while music served as an implicit – and occasionally explicit – tourist promotion for those places. (Connell & Gibson, 2004, p. 4) This relationship between place and music is further expanded by Sancar (2003). He adds that the distinctive layers that create music are linked to specific places on the same emotional level that people relate to music on. He also suggests that music symbolizes and creates social processes, culture and politics, whilst also creating contexts for a multitude of social gatherings, evoking patriotism, or creating senses of belonging or identification where perhaps there was none. He summarizes that; The mutually generative relationship between place and music, along with the unique emotional quality of the medium make it particularly suitable for expressing place. (Sancar, 2003, p. 273) However, music should not be taken as a universal expression of place. Music’s emotional qualities means that, whilst collective interpretation of place often occurs with the cultural consumption of music, it is just as open to personal and idiosyncratic interpretation by the varied individuals it touches (Cohen, 1998).

2.2 Place
Place began its conceptualisation with Locke’s exploration of it as a specific interpretation of the way in which physical sensory experience allows humans to perceive the outside world. He claimed that place was created; By our sight and touch; by which... we receive into our minds the ideas of extension or distance. (Locke, 1690) However, with the advent of the cultural turn in the 1990s and the increasing importance of concepts such as ‘meaning’ and ‘identity’ (Valentine, 2001) what place meant to geographers began to change. Whilst still incorporating Locke’s sensory and tactile perceptions of the world around us, place is now harder to define. It is a concept


Chapter 2: Literature Review that incorporates the ways in which people interact with land beneath their feet as well as the more abstract emotions people feel towards such land. This is supported by Datel and Dingemans (1984) who define a sense of place as; The complex bundle of meaning, symbols, and qualities that a person or group associates (consciously and unconsciously) with a particular locality or region. (Datel & Dingemans 1984 quoted in Shamai & Ilatov, 2005, p. 468) This definition covers some of the current understandings of place; that it is a human creation on a mental level that exists beyond the five senses. This ‘creation’ sees place incorporate such things as tradition, sacredness, hostility and comfort. Castree (2003) acknowledged these facets of place, whilst adding ‘Place as a locale / a setting and scale for people’s daily actions and interactions’ (Setten, 2006, p. 39). Combing these conceptualisations, place appears to incorporate almost every facet of human existence, disallowing any human action to fall outside its boundaries. Johnston (1991) proposes that geographers should embrace this all encompassing understanding of place, and harness it to re-group the ‘fragmented’ discipline of geography. He asks other academics to; Recognise the need to study wholes – place are milieux within which ways of life are constructed and reconstructed and within which individuals are socialised into an appreciation of who they are. (Johnston, 1991, p. 255) By acknowledging the totality of place all aspects of geography can be seen as different, yet linked facets through which place can be deconstructed. Johnston’s

conceptualisation of place also suggests that only one understanding of place exists and that it is found in different variations in all human experience. However, there are different types of place, such in Tuan’s (2001) ‘Cosmos versus Hearth’ argument. An argument focused around the overlapping scales of place in the world; with hearth representing the most comfortable and familiar aspects of place, and cosmos encompassing the entirety of existence outside of this recognizable locality.


Chapter 2: Literature Review Their distinction is not clear cut, instead their boundaries often blur into each other. In the case of ‘ILLINOIS’ this occurs as Sufjan attempts to encode3 the cosmos of the entire State into personal, intimate, hearth like music. These debates see place as a concept tied up within conscious thought and social interaction. Place can also be said to exist independently of such constraints, commodified in other mediums, such as ‘ILLINOIS’. Which, once consumed; Can be an important influence in shaping the typically hybrid identities of people and places, of engendering a sense of place and deep attachment of place. (Hudson, 2006, p. 633) The place in question is not reliant on physical travel or bodily experience. Through the consumption of music from ‘other’ places these connections can be still created. In this way consumption of place-centric music can be seen to be a facilitation of Harvey’s (1989) ‘time-space compression’ or as further blurring the distinction between hearth and cosmos (Tuan, 2001) negating the problem physical distance creates in the global sharing of ‘places’. This is especially the case in with music and the rise of the internet as a means of distribution, one that has relatively little bias based on physical distance or economic standing (at least in the modern West) (Jones, 2002). ‘ILLINOIS’ is just one example of the deterritorializing of place and the way in which technological advances in the ability to record/transfer sound help mean ‘the global and local [can be seen as] relational rather than oppositional’ (Connel & Gibson, 2004). Together all of these conceptualisations suggest that place cannot be pinned down and defined as unchanging concept like the dirt and rock it is situated upon. Instead it should now be considered as something that flows and changes. Such that;


In this case complex feeling about place are encoded, transmitted or signified via the means of aural discourse itself encoded into digital form by the recording process. As such the subsequent decoding of all music is not predictable but open to interpretation, distortion or misunderstanding (Hall, 2001).


Chapter 2: Literature Review Identities of place can no longer simply be thought of as singular, coherent things, as entities enclosed, bordered and fixed, but rather as nodes within ongoing processes of cultural relations. (Anderson, 2004, p. 46) There is also another idea vital to place and the way place creates in people an ‘appreciation of who they are’ (Johnston, 1991); in other words the construction of self and identity through place. If we take Casey’s definition of place; To be the immediate environment of my lived body- an arena of action that is at once physical and historical, social and cultural. (Casey, 2001, p. 683) Then regardless of these different aspects of place, the concept is at its core inherently intimate and personal. It provides the very foundation of ‘being’, a foundation which contextualizes the creation our sense of identity and self (Dixon & Durrheim, 2000)

2.3 Self and Identity
Self is a concept vital to modern cultural geography and one that bears particular relevance to the first person narrative found in ‘ILLINOIS’ as well as the album’s focus on place and the ethnographic progress by which it was constructed. Self is not an isolated abstract phenomenon dwelling only in the mental realm, but one that is molded profoundly affected by exterior factors. So that; What we think of as … subjectivity is not simply `imprinted’…. Rather, a psychical interior is constructed via social inscription on the body’s exterior. (It...) is always mediated through the sexually specific body, the exterior of which is also simultaneously psychically constructed. (Martin, 1997, p. 109) The ‘social inscription’ can be construed as inscription by (the universal totality of) place, exposing the true nature of the relationship between place and self; external place creates internal self, whilst the external interaction/communication between many internal ‘selves’ creates place (as suggested by Johnston, 1991).


Chapter 2: Literature Review The role of ‘body’ mentioned by Martin is central to both place and self as it is the vehicle through which we experience/create place and within which we experience/create ‘self’. In other words, the body is the mediatrix between place and self (Casey, 2001). This mediatrix is created through two processes (Casey, 2001): first is the ‘Outgoing’; through which though our bodies reach ‘outwards’ in place and create evolving relationships between place and self, through such things as verbal interaction or music consumption. Second is the ‘Incoming’; created through the tenacious nature of experience which resides in the 1st person place-bound impressions of time stored in memory. These memories, or ‘virtual impressions of place’, are accessible again regardless of, or perhaps triggered by, external stimulus. (Casey, 2001). Despite this reliance on external place to mould self, our appearance to others is not a total representation of our ‘selves’. Instead there is a construction and portrayal of identity when interacting with others. As such; Our identities are continually (re)created by our performative acts in particular places; we suture ourselves to these subject positions through our practical acts. (Anderson, 2004, p. 47) These performative acts are not necessarily conscious ones, but simply the actions undertaken in life in relation to the other people within the context of certain space (Bain, 2004), meaning that to others we are what we do and say. These acts are not limitless in their scope, there are social factors limiting the conscious choice of the actions that express our identity, such as gender, race, class, religion, age, education and sexuality, not to mention the distribution of power, or structure thereof, within a society (Parker, 2001). Identity is not as individual as it may seem, collective identities exist, uniting people with shared (physical and mental) traits. Most important to ‘ILLINOIS’ is ‘shared identity’ when the commonality is place, or region, in this case the State of Illinois. The creation of regional identity is tied to production of territorial boundaries (such as the States) (Paasi, 2003) coupled with;


Chapter 2: Literature Review Institutional practices, discourses and symbolisms that are expressive of the ‘structures of expectations’ that become institutionalized as parts of the process that we call a ‘region’. (Paasi, 2003, p. 478) The performance of our identity is reliant on the region that the performances occur within. This region cannot exist without a formal compartmentalization of place, thus our identity is also tied to a paradoxically ‘compartmentalized’, yet unifying, concept of place. This regional identity also entails the existence of ‘other’, identities based on foreign regions and the subsequent creation of ‘contact zones’ when different regional identities meet.

2.4 Connection, Disconnection
It is through these ‘contact zones’ that senses of (dis)connection to identities other than our own stem. A contact zone is how; Subjects are constituted in and by their relations to each other . . . in terms of copresence, interaction, interlocking understandings and practices. (Pratt, 1992) The co-presence of the consumer/listener and Sufjans ‘ILLINOIS’ creates a vicarious contact zone through which a sense of place and identity, both personal and regional, are shared (Connell & Gibson, 2004), albeit in a rather one way process. The connection runs deeper than this, the process of music consumption involves a degree of cybridity whereby the artificial mechanics behind the creation, recording and amplification of music fuse with the sense of self creating in Haraway’s (1991) eyes, a cyborg; a being entwined within a network with no absolute distinction between natural and artificial (Kunzro, 1997). This is not to suggest that the consumption of the ‘ILLINOIS’ transfers all knowledge contained in this cyborg network into the mind of the consumer. Instead it is only


Chapter 2: Literature Review through a process of de-fetishising4 that the consumer can perceive such connections in the commodities they purchase (Cook, 2002). However, Sufjan is a musicalethnographer and by virtue of this profession there is an inherent disconnection present between the researcher and their research. Rose (1989) puts this concept forwards through a fictional exploration of a man conducting an ethnographic study into a community fascinated with symbolic, symbiotic, masks. In a letter the protagonist tells a friend that; I’m going to try on some of these masks one of these days. At least I’ll get to participate in the culture after all... I’ll pretend to be one of the people of the city in the persona they wore...and begin to reconstruct who, where and why. (Rose, 1989, p. 82) The disconnection here is due to the inability of the researcher to ‘be’ his researched, he may observe them, participate with them, pretend to be like them, yet he will always be in his self an ‘other’. Sufjan’s identity/self means the album is only a connection to the place of ‘ILLINOIS’ for the consumer through a tenuous vicarious contact zone to a disconnected ethnographers attempts at a true understanding of an ‘other’ regional identity. Cook (2000) disagrees with such a binary (self/other), arguing that through self-centric learning influenced by border pedagogy students can learn for themselves the real nature of the world and the difficultly involved in truly separating their own lives and people they know/interact with into such binaries.


The term Commodity Fetishism refers to the skewed and distorted ways in which commodities appear to those within the capitalist system, the ways in which the social relations behind the creation of a commodity are concealed to those that purchase it, and the ways in which the procedures behind its creation are made to appear natural. (Bernstein & Campling, 2006)


Chapter 3: Methodology

3 Methodology
3.1 Philosophical Approach
It is the philosophical approach behind the methodology that most greatly affects any research project (Graham, 1997). My approach is Humanistic, focusing on the qualities that define what it means to be human (e.g. experience, self, identity and emotion). Humanism incorporates the personal themes and narrative found in ‘ILLINOIS’, as well as the detailed human experience needed to explore my research aims. The methods associated with this approach also create ‘soft, language rich’ results useful for analysing something as elusive as music (Brewer, 2000). My specific approach focuses on the anecdotal, private and personal aspects of human experience in order to uncover the universal (Entrikin, 2001), also encouraging me to explore; ‘The inherent tensions and ambiguities that exist just beneath the apparent concreteness and certainty of the customary rhythms of everyday life’ (Entrikin, 2001, p. 431).

3.2 Collection
A qualitative methodology was adopted for my primary data collection. Secondary data was also collected to provide context for the research but it is the primary data that forms the body of the analysis. My methods consist of ethnographic5 research techniques such as: participant observation, informal interviews and subjective personal introspective. The reasoning behind the methodology is inductive, as it uses a collection of individual experiences to work towards answering general questions (Lindsay, 1997).

I am taking Ethnography to mean ‘The study of people in naturally occurring settings or field by methods of data collection which capture their social meaning and ordinary activities, involving the research participating directly in the setting, if not also the activities, in order to collect data in a systematic manner but without meaning being imposed on them externally.’ (Brewer, 2000, p. 6)



Chapter 3: Methodology

3.2.1 Project outline
My research was carried out on location in Illinois, U.S.A., over a 16 day period from the 29th of August to the 14th of September 2006. It was split into four visits, 29th-4th in Chicago, 4-8th in Springfield, 8-12th in Peoria and the 12th-14th in Chicago again. My route can be seen in Figure 1.

Figure 1 Map showing my route across Illinois

3.2.2 Ethnography
Ethnography is uniquely adept at its ability to explore the interconnections between social groups ‘and with the places they inhabit, cultivate, promote, defend, dominate and love’ (Herbert, 2000, p. 564), the connection that is at the centre of my research. The ethnographic process creates situated knowledge through ‘thick description’, fixed to the persona of the researcher, the location of research and the time-span of said research (Taylor, 2002), mirroring Sufjans’ own production of ‘ILLINOIS’. Similarly the process incorporates the subjectivity of research into its fabric. It acknowledges that the


Chapter 3: Methodology abstract viewpoint of the natural sciences is unobtainable and that information gathered through research is not a mirror onto the world, but the very way ‘through which it is constructed, understood and acted upon’ (Cook & Crang, 1995, p. 11), in the same way that Sufjan presents ‘Illinois’ as an emotional understanding of place, not a reflection of its history or landmarks6. Ethnography is also a flexible process, allowing my research strategies to adapt to the changing locations and subject matter of my research trip. (Hammersley & Atkinson, 1983). This flexibility was harnessed to use two aspects of ethnography (knowledge from external agents and knowledge from myself) to conduct my research.

3.2.3 Participant Observation and Informal Interviews

Figure 2 Diagram showing the line between participation and observation Vinten, 1994, p. 93)

Participant observation is a method that involves the researcher striking a balance between being a ‘complete observer’ of society and a ‘complete participant’ within a society, shown in Figure 2 (Vinten, 1994, p. 93), (Hammersley & Atkinson, 1983). The defining characteristics of Participant Observation are i) Access, ii) Role and iii) Language (Cook & Crang, 1995). In my research these were as follows: i. The access required was not specific, needing only access to people currently living in Illinois. Gaining such access was achieved by enrolling in the Camp America programme which provided me with flights to and from America and a J1 visa. ii. Sometime I found it was easier to talk to others as acting as just a tourist. When engaging those with knowledge of Sufjan I provided specific details about my

Sufjan Stevens has been quoted as saying about his ‘It has as much to do with your own personal history, your own experience, your own relationships. And it has to do with your methods of gathering data...But really trying less to create a historical picture or cultural assessment, and making more of an emotional assessment’ (Petrusich, 2004)


Chapter 3: Methodology project. My identity was inevitably that of a young English ‘outsider’ due to factors beyond my control. iii. This obviousness of my ‘outsider’ role was most commonly commented on by my use of language. My distinctly English accent and common misuse of words bearing a different meaning in American-English often made me standout. Occurring in tangent with Participant Observation were a series of context bound informal interviews that probed the informants’ thoughts on the state of Illinois and their understanding of Sufjans ‘ILLINOIS’. These were spontaneous, on location and ‘as informal a face-to-face encounter as possible so that it appears almost like a natural conversation between people with an established relationship’ (Brewer, 2000, p. 33).

3.2.4 Subjective Personal Introspection and Reflexive Ethnography
Whilst participant observation and informal interviews do integrate the subjectivity of the researcher into the data collection I am taking this a step farther by incorporating Subjective Personal Introspection into my data collection/analysis. This is because ‘I believe that—because I am human—when I write about myself, I inevitably describe some aspect of the human condition’ (Holbrook, 2005, p. 45). First put forward by Holbrook (1986) to autobiographically analyze personal consumption of music over a number of decades, this method was used again in a more modern context by Shankar (2000), who by researching himself further expands upon his interpretation of music consumption. In this project Subjective Personal Introspection was used to chart my own relationship with ‘ILLINOIS’ and Illinois, how my perceptions of place changed over time, the way in which my sense of self and identity changed in relation to place and music, what the experience of conducting my first ethnographic project in a foreign country was like.

3.2.5 Recording
Participant Observation and Subjective Personal Introspection were recorded in a field notebook and a number of voice entries were also made. Some of informal interviews


Chapter 3: Methodology were not recorded in an attempt to maintain their ‘naturalness’ and refrain from invoking feelings of scrutiny or artificiality in the subject during the process. They were, however, written up at the soonest possible occasion in my field notebook.

3.3 Analysis
Drawing upon Glaser and Strauss’s ‘grounded theory’, (a theory which attempted to validate the extrapolation of serious theory from qualitative data) (Davis, 1999) I am using a qualitative and interpretive analysis. First all of my research notes and recordings needed to be transcribed into electronic text documents for legibility and ease of use. Then a system of ‘Data Management’ was undertaken in which codes were assigned to text of similar content (Brewer, 2000). Following Cook & Crang’s’ (1995) ‘Sifting Sorting and Making Sense of it All’ an iterative method of sorting was then used to refine the codes into precise groups embodying the aspects explored in my research. Annotations were made to accompany the code groups, identifying ‘focal points’ in time, where specific occurrences related directly to more abstract concepts. After this I used a ‘Conceptual processes of Classification’ (Dey 1993 in Brewer, 2000, p. 115). This process involved classifying and analyzing the over-arching themes from coding. The classification process was modified and used to fuse together these themes with specific moments found in ‘ILLINOIS’ the links between the album and my research. From these classifications a narrative was formed that took into account the chronological progression of my field work, the progression in the ‘ILLINOIS’, Wolcott’s (1994) D-A-I (Description, analysis, interpretation) formula for transforming qualitative data and realist, confessional and impressionist styles of writing (Maanen, 1988).

3.4 Limitations
The largest limitation with this project was its scale in terms of time and distance. There was only a small window of opportunity between the end of my work placement with


Chapter 3: Methodology Camp America and the start of term to conduct my research. Once this window closed there was no way for me to return to the field. My scope for research was restricted to the places I could afford to travel to and stay in. However, I managed to visit 3 of the settlements in Illinois and travel across a third of the State. My access was also limited to those I could get in contact with during the months before my research took place. The issue of postionality is an unavoidable for; ‘If the researcher is living for an extended period in the community he is studying, his personal life is inextricably mixed with his research’ (Whyte, 1996). As will be seen in my analysis the difficulties of my postionality are embraced and in turn become a defining factor in my report. My analysis expresses this subjectivity through the use of 1st person present tense narrative, that is not without its drawbacks; it is argued that the artificiality with which time is frozen within the present tense removes such events from context of the past, providing a woefully incomplete view of society (Sanjek, 1991). I would argue that such a ‘freezing’ of the present serves to mirror the encoding of place within the ‘ILLINOIS’. The present tense also provides the opportunity to expose the inter-subjectivity of the research within the field by neither tying his actions to a past moment, now irretrievable, nor some future abstract, unobtainable, but to the ‘now’ felt within ethnographic process (Hastrup, 1992) (Davis J. , 1992). The logic behind textual analysis of aural stimulus is another limitation, as Smith (1997) puts it ‘Writing about music is like dancing about architecture’ (Smith, 1997, p. 504). This is unavoidable in this report, but I shall hope to address the issue through the use of music accompaniment, as well as an effort to convey the rhythmic and melodic qualities of music through selective/poetic use of language and lyrics. I am aware I have not conducted ethnography in the understanding of Brewer’s definition (2000, p. 6). ‘ILLINOIS’ is an external factor weighing heavy on all of my research, but one which shapes the ethnographic process in, I believe, a useful, exciting and most importantly manageable way, allowing me to focus on one specific aspect of a culture, rather than attempt to understand it all within such a small time-frame.


Chapter 3: Methodology



Michael Anton

Registration No



Chapter 4: Preface

4 Preface
In the following section I present a series of emotive, impressionist descriptions of the varied peoples, places and moments I experienced during the ethnographic process, together with confessional interpretations of my own physical and emotional journey through Illinois (shown in Calibri font). I occasionally return to a realist perspective in order to ground my understandings within wide literature and analyse the implications of my research in theoretical terms (shown in bold). Quotes directly
from Sufjan Stevens ‘ lyrics are shown in Lucida Handwriting, quotes from

interviews, field notes and audio journals in italics, quotes from academic writers in highlighted italics and excerpts from recorded correspondence in Courier New. To further heighten the experience footnotes in red draw attention to moments matching up to the audio C.D. provided, so that excerpts of music from ‘ILLINOIS’ can be listened too in tandem with its discussion (See Appendix 8.2 for a full track listing). At first this analysis relies on interview data and my experiences with other people to make its assessments. However, as my journey progresses it becomes apparent that my own emotions and feelings are perhaps even more crucial to the exploration of how place and music interact and connect with a sense of self. This leads into a series introspective considerations of just what is occurring to my own self during the journey undertaken, concluding with the realization that maybe I can’t explain the State that I’m in and neither could Sufjan or my interview subjects. This unique analysis is an attempt to mirror that which forms the core of this research, Sufjan’s ‘ILLINOIS’. I present the results and processing of my researching together as one ‘album’, with each track, or chapter, harnessing different instruments of structure, style and layout, and speaking through varied lyrics of vocabulary, imagery, tense and person.


Chapter 5: Come on! Feel the Illinoise!

5 Come on! Feel the Illinoise!
5.1 Oh Great White City
A small billboard ‘Welcoming me to Illinois’ anticlimactically informed me that my research had officially, and suddenly, begun. My heart raced and my senses went into overdrive as I tried to soak up every detail, this was it, I was an ethnographer. I quelled the voices in my head telling me that what I was seeing out of the coach window was nothing special. Deep down I knew this was different. This was Sufjan’s Illinois, my Illinois, our Illinois, here, in front of my very eyes, after so much theory and speculation I had arrived in this place. By the time I’d settled down and explored the city for two days I was in love and elated that so much of the music seemed to match up with my experiences. The wide avenues bustling with life sang like the uplifting chorus of ‘Chicago’7 (Figure 3). The laid back, residential streets hummed with bouncy banjo charm of ‘Decatur’8 (Figure 4). The grandeur of the whole experience, the beautiful park space (Figure 5), the impressive architecture (Figure 6), the throbbing flow of people at every hour, was encapsulated by the marching beat and boastful brass of ‘The Black Hawk War’9; Just listening to it whilst exploring the city heightened my feelings, drawing me closer with the place that surrounded me. However, by the third day I began to question the usefulness of just experiencing the city on my own. Sure I’d tried talking to people but I couldn’t get beyond polite chit-chat about the weather and the fact that, yes, I was English... my questions of Sufjan drew blank stars and apologies. It was time to meet people and make the first steps towards really understanding this place through the eyes of someone who lived here.
7 8

Excerpt from ‘Chicago’ – Track 1 Excerpt from ‘Decatur – Track 2 9 Excerpt from ‘The Black Hawk War’ – Track 3


Chapter 5: Come on! Feel the Illinoise!

Figure 3 Photo of a cross-road in central Chicago


Chapter 5: Come on! Feel the Illinoise!

Figure 4 Photo of a suburban street in Chicago


Chapter 5: Come on! Feel the Illinoise!

Figure 5 Photo of Millennium Park in Chicago


Chapter 5: Come on! Feel the Illinoise!

Figure 6 Photo of the Chicago Tribune building


Chapter 5: Come on! Feel the Illinoise!

5.2 Karl, Nora, Sufjan and I
Jun 10, 2006 12:55 AM From: Karl Klockars to Michael Anton I was just showing the lady friend what you said and she says to me, "I want to hang out with a Brit and talk about Sufjan Stevens!" So there's that. first album in the series, Michigan...well,

In addition, his

Nora's from Michigan and used to see Sufjan play all these tiny coffee shops in Ann Arbor and could probably give you some good perspective on that side of things too. But with all that, there's tons of great shit to do 'round here. If all else fails, we'll hang out and I'll introduce you to all kinds of shitty American piss--I mean beer. ~k Jun 10, 2006 3:37 PM From: Michael Anton to Karl Klockars That would be fantastic! I was kind of worried I'd turn up in Chicago and people wouldn't know what I was talking about...It’s hardly like I want to sit them down and grill people about the album. Just chatting about Chicago and music is the plan. Thanks for all this, Mike June 10, 2006 3:44 PM From: Karl Klockars to Michael Anton No problem. I didn't figure you'd want to be holed up in a

library with a CD player and back issues of newspapers, but there


Chapter 5: Come on! Feel the Illinoise!
are more than a few people I know that would be able to talk to you about the album. ~k

My first meeting with Karl and his fiancée Nora took place on the 1st of September in the ‘Wrigleyville North’ and lasted just under an hour, during which my most of my apparent understandings of this place and Sufjan from the past few days of research were shattered. After generally, and rather nervously, setting out what it was I was here to do, secretly hoping that Karl would have already given his fiancée some specifics, Nora looked at me quizzically and bluntly asked; Nora: “Yeah, but how are you going to write about it?” I was slightly taken aback; I was the interviewer, why all of a sudden did it feel like I was the one being studied? Myself: “What do you mean?” Nora: “Well so much isn’t about here, it’s about him. You know, all those religious overtones, that’s not here, that’s Sufjan just going on about stuff he knows, stuff he’s familiar with. He goes off on a tangent for like half of it….Just listen, go and listen to how many times he cries in that album, he’s way too into himself.” What Nora was suggesting was something I had yet to consider at all. She was arguing that this music was too personal to be seen as representation of place. Meaning that, as an artist, Sufjan hindered rather than provided an exploration of place by getting bogged down with the ‘religious overtones’ and ‘crying’.


Chapter 5: Come on! Feel the Illinoise! A strong argument apparent in the literature review concerning place was that; There is no place without self and no self without place. (Casey, 2001, p. 684) In terms of music it is being suggested that the exploration of self, rather than heightening a sense of place, in fact has a detrimental effect. The point may seem obvious; if the whole album were about Sufjans beliefs and personality then the importance of place would have to play ‘second fiddle’. To take this view-point is to negate the ethnographic qualities of Sufjan’s research; how can it be that academics are calling out for textual ethnographies to become increasing self aware (Murphy, 1999), whilst my research is showing that some people consider reflexivity in music detrimental to its ability to represent place? Whilst the importance of music in cultural geography is increasing (Kong, 1995) this signals how, if the medium is to be explored, different approaches and conceptualisations might have to be made. I attempted, drawing upon what I had read months ago, to defend Sufjans position, suggesting that there was no place without human interaction, and that Sufjans personal moments were an example of this. I put forward the idea that place is remembered through a series of anecdotes and stories all infused with our own personality. Nora: “Okay, but look at John Wayne Gacy, when he goes on about how he’s ‘just like him’10. It’s ridiculous! He’s some nice and proper indie artist crying because he thinks he’s just like one of our biggest serial killers? What the fuck?!” I couldn’t help but laugh, she was right; it did really sound quite ridiculous. I didn’t want to upset her by disagreeing with her viewpoint too strongly, but I didn’t feel comfortable just abandoning my own outlook. I understood that my thoughts were built on pre-conceptions, theoretical readings and three days of wondering around Chicago and she was the one who lived here, she was the one who knew the place.


Excerpt from ‘John Wayne Gayce – Track 4


Chapter 5: Come on! Feel the Illinoise! The incorporation of the researchers’ preconceptions into self-reflexive texts is recognized by ethnographers to be ‘good practice’ (Neville-Jan, 2004). In this case preconceptions of place created an additional obstacle into its understanding. A connection had already been formed to place based upon vicarious contact, interpretation of music and previous readings before the research project. The coming to terms with the possible fallacy of this connection in light of experiences with Illinois residents of Illinois presented a significant challenge.


Chapter 5: Come on! Feel the Illinoise!

5.3 Chicago, In Fashion, the ‘Soft’ Drinks, Expansion
I’m with Karl (Figure 7), it’s the evening of 2nd of September, he’s perched on a bar stool smoking in the busy, mood lit cellar of the ‘Matisse’ in central Chicago. I already feel more familiar around him but I just can’t shake the feeling that he’s making time for me or that I’m only here to extract information. Feeling

thirsty, I catch the eye of the pretty blonde barmaid and ask her what decent beers she has. “He means imported.” Karl says, mockingly providing clarification. “I mean imported.” She lists the beers, and I decide that on a Stella. I’m reaching for my I.D. when she asks; “You guys from round here?” Karl answers first, explaining he lives just around the corner, whilst I, like she hasn’t already noticed, explain that I’m English. I embellish, mention London, and find myself making a conscious effort to exaggerate my accent, I feel proud of it. “No way, I thought so. I used to teach at an English school.” “Really? Where in England?” “No, Indiana.”


Chapter 5: Come on! Feel the Illinoise! “Oh.” I don’t know what to make of that, did she really mean English? She gets distracted with another customer so I don’t have to make any embarrassing clarifications. Regardless I now feel exposed and out of place, I saw that bloke down the bar give me a look when I said ‘English’. I take a tentative first sip of my beer, it’s strong and crisp. The taste of it takes my mind off things; I begin to feel more social. Karl asks me what I got up to today and I tell him with disappointment about my trip to overcrowded Navy Pier to see the Ferris wheel (Figure 8). “The McFerris Wheel you mean, told you that thing was a tourist trap.” “Yeah.” I reply laughing with him, but I can’t stop feeling pretty disappointed. One symbol that Sufjan seems to place so much focus on...
treasure, Amusement, or treasure,

these optimistic pleasures,
like the Ferris Wheel!

...Is now just a joke, a pun, an advert, a tourist trap, irrelevant?


Excerpt from ‘Come on! Feel the Illinoise’ – Track 5


Chapter 5: Come on! Feel the Illinoise!

Figure 8 Photo showing the sign for the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel

progress, forgotten Oh God of progress, have you degraded or forgotten us?

I ask Karl and he shakes it off, “It’s just America” he says. “They need money to run that thing”, he guesses. The barmaid asks if we want some more beers, we do. “That Sufjan?” She asks opening the next two bottles; I’m wearing my ‘Come on Feel the Illinois T-Shirt’ (Figure 9). My stomach knots up, suddenly I’m presented with a
Figure 9 Image showing the design of t-shirt


Chapter 5: Come on! Feel the Illinoise! whole new research route, created through nothing more than blind luck and a t-shirt, I wasn’t expecting this. “Yeah,” I explain, thinking on my feet, “I’m over here writing a piece about him.” “That’s awesome! I love him, but he shoulda been here for Lollapalooza the other week.” “I know.” Lollap-what? I rack my brains...I think she’s talking about a music festival a month or two back; I don’t want to kill the conversation. “You’d think he would, what with him writing about here so much.” “Yeah that’s what I said, I mean, I love that Chicago song and to like hear it here live, would just’ve been...” She doesn’t finished her sentence, but I tell her I know what she means, because I think I do, it’s one thing listening to these songs...but it would be a totally different experience to see him really perform. We take the first sip on our new beers and Karl pays for them with a twenty. I ask about the baseball game showing behind the bar. Karl begins to explain... but there’s something behind it I just can’t quite grasp, it looks so simple to me, but Karl’s talking about things I can’t see, there’s a whole lexicon I can’t comprehend. He simplifies, “My team’s winning”. After an awkward moment or two he turns and asks me “You wanna get some food? I’m starving”, already eyeing up the bar menu. I agree and Karl chooses us some ‘spicy hot wings’. They don’t lie when they say hot. My mouth is burning as Karl laughs at my futile attempts to douse the fire with beer. He goes to the toilet...restroom once we’ve finished, the barmaid places a bottle of Stella on the table and smiles without saying a word and suddenly I’m rather selfconscious. Has she just given me a free drink? Have we opened a tab? Is this just what they do over here? It feels rude to say anything; I don’t mention it to Karl as he sits back


Chapter 5: Come on! Feel the Illinoise! down. She does the same for him and he accepts the bottle. We drink up quickly discussing the evening he’s got planned. “Can we finish up here?” he asks nonchalantly to the barmaid as she collects our empties. “You are,” she replies. “Really?” “Yeah, go on, enjoy yourselves.” We leave, up the stairs and into the busy nightlife. I turn to Karl and ask. “Did we just get those for free?!” “Yeah...and dinner...” I’m exhilarated and can’t help feeling that somehow my being a British Sufjan fan just saved us close to twenty bucks... This occasion marks my first realisation of hybrid nature of my own identity. I use the term ‘hybrid’ because of my own role as a research and the...; Processes of self-destabilization, immersion, negotiated relationships, shifts in power, and the constitution of an ethnographic identity. (Murphy, 1999, p. 501) ...that research entails. Combined with this is the use of music as my research topic. A topic that for me goes far beyond an academic application, but one that....; Has a role to play in the construction [my] own sense of self or [my] self-identity, and also [my] social identity. (Shankar, 2000, p. 30) A hybrid identity is created that sees my own personal affinity with music and the feelings of connection to this place it creates, fuse with the process of ‘self-


Chapter 5: Come on! Feel the Illinoise! destabilization’ I go through in order to gain an understanding of others and their relations with this place through music and my research process.

This hybrid identity is further complicated by the social and academic pressure I feel to ‘immerse’ myself within the moment whilst attempting to use the created relationships to conduct research. As such the expectation to drink alcohol in the social situations I met Karl in brought to my attention the fragile nature of my body as a research tool. Deliberately intoxicating one’s body in order to gain access to and companionship with research subject is an interesting experience, and one worth further reflection. (Parr, 2001, p. 163) Parr goes on to suggest that such encounters were not particularly useful for her research, but that they might be essential to the understanding of the body in geography. I believe such experiences did detract my accurate perceptions of place, but that this in itself did not detract from my research, nor did it strengthen it, it merely allowed me to further immerse myself in my participant observation. The consumption of music, unlike the consumption of alcohol, is not just an input into a bodily system. In this case it is not even the music, but the referral to it, which acts as a stimulus, setting off a chain reaction of mental and physical responses and creating a series of emotional connections: excitement in the ‘barmaid’ at the prospect of hearing the ‘ILLINOIS’ live in Illinois, apathy in Karl when asked about the symbolism of the Ferris Wheel and nerves in myself when the subject is brought up unexpectedly. This suggests that there is much more to music than the immediacy of its consumption and its specific discussion. Something lingered in me long after I shook hands with Karl and went back to my hotel room, something about the way music and place had intertwined.


Chapter 5: Come on! Feel the Illinoise! The same way that the incoming place and ‘virtual impressions of place’ are stored within memory (Casey, 2001), there seems to be an internal connection to music that people carry within them. Memories triggered by the music create personal and virtual senses of place possibly very different to any other. For example my search for the authenticity of Sufjans Ferris Wheel is disregarded by Karl who considers the place of ‘McFerris Wheel’ normal. This may be in part due to my outsider perspective, but also because of my connection to the virtual place created by Sufjan. The creation of place in the music happens irrespective of Sufjan personality within the music. Instead the importance seems to rest on the processes of interpretation and mental response/storage that seems to be creating the connections between music and place in the mind. It felt as if the borders between place, self and these ‘virtual places’ had begun to blur together. How was I supposed to research place, if place was really in the inaccessible minds of other people? How could I tell the difference between these elusive imagined places and ‘real’ places? Why did there even seem to be a difference? Surely place was just that, a place, it had to be somewhere...didn’t it? Sufjan wrote about somewhere....where is it? I decided that I needed to go find a place, a definable place, and analyse that, find something concrete to sink my teeth into. It was one thing talking to these people but I needed to try and understand how place worked in my own mind before I could start making proper assessments about how the residents of Illinois perceived place or how it related to ILLINOIS at all.... I looked to Sufjan for inspiration the very next day and, with a slight hangover, I grabbed ‘ILLINOIS’ and headed to the Sears Tower.


Chapter 5: Come on! Feel the Illinoise!

5.4 The Sears Tower

Figure 10 Photo showing the view up the Sears Tower (Source:


Chapter 5: Come on! Feel the Illinoise!

In the tower above the earth, we built it for Emmanuel.12

Exert from audio journal on 03/09/06 1.47pm “I remember from some history lesson, my teacher asking ‘why are churches so intricate... right up to the very top?’ It was because they believed God could see it all, every detail.”
see Where we see the universe, I see the fire I see the end.

“I can see why people built these big things, the way in which they are timeless and to be looked up in awe, to be like God themselves... the temples of our modern age.”
Still I go to the deepest grave, alone. Where I go to sleep alone.

The hours I spent at the foot of the Sears tower (Figure 10) marked a turning point in my exploration of Illinois/ILLINOIS. Instead of merely representing, or illuminating aspects of the places (the way music has seemed to on the first few days of my trip) the music had begun to actively transform it, overlaying the virtual place created in my head directly on-top of the physical space the Sear Tower occupied. The music was conjuring up instances of my past, making me considering them in a new light, whilst simultaneously taking me out of the present and into speculation about the future. Music operates symbolically like place. Moreover, music does not simply reflect a place, sense of space, or local identity, but also creates (and is used to create) these. (Roberson, 2001, p. 214) Here it was right in front of me, the creation of place. I knew the theory, but here it was, alive.


Excerpt from ‘The Sears Tower’ – Track 6


Chapter 5: Come on! Feel the Illinoise! For particular moments in time, a band and its music can create and influence… place and the image of the city. (Carroll & Connell, 2000, p. 152) This was one of those moments. I could, feel the place built from my memories, my gaze, my music. The connection I felt to this structure of steel and glass, this point in space, was intimate and totally contained within my body yet there was a feeling of outwards dependence on external factors. I felt a connection towards Sufjan, towards other people viewing the tower, to the people that built it and to the people in my life who have shaped how I look at buildings. In some ways this is just an example of the vicarious contact that has been characteristic of recorded music since its spread into mainstream culture (Connell & Gibson, 2004). However, there is something internal about this ‘contact zone’, contact is being made, not just with those surrounding and inside this tower, but with my own past. It all was a ‘contact zone’, every moment I’d been here had been one, this was different, there was more here that just a meeting and understanding of two cultures. This episode could also be seen as an example of the cyborg nature of existence and a coming to terms with the connected nature of the ‘modern’ human; My ‘self’ stretched out through music, connected to all those that have allowed me to consume it, a real-time de-fetishing of the commodity of music into its parts and the people behind its creation. The music meant more to me, it meant more to Nora than just a commodity, it wasn’t to just be consumed. There was more, there was emotion, there was interpretation. ‘The Sears Tower’ and The Sears Tower were mine, I knew the other connections existed, but they were irrelevant, it felt like my song and my place. It could be argued that such an intense feeling of connection is representative of music emotive qualities, creating an emotional connection to place not unlike the


Chapter 5: Come on! Feel the Illinoise! studies that sought to explore the connections between specific social identity and music (Sancar, 2003), (Roberson, 2001). The fact that both myself and Sufjan are outsiders, seeking to ethnographically study place through music and emotion created a connection that (at least at the time felt like it) transcended the insider/outsider connected/disconnected binary. This wasn’t helping me at all. I was supposed to be answering questions, not posing more. I felt trapped in a paradox…How could place be so inclusively personal and yet so externally dependent on others? How did this sense of my own past, in fact any past, fit into the ‘now’ of my research?

I was running out of time but with so many questions left open. I had to leave Chicago the very next day and travel to Springfield, a place I knew very little about. A place I knew no one in. From now on it would be me, my notebook and whatever I could gleam from my senses. I wouldn’t be able to rely on contacts arranging to meet, to chat, to give me ideas, any more… I would have to find out what it all meant myself.


Chapter 5: Come on! Feel the Illinoise!

5.5 A Short Reprise for Mary Todd, Who Went Insane, but for Very Good Reasons13
Mary Todd’s wax model in the Lincoln Museum, Springfield, holds onto the small figure of her dying son. In the far corner, stands the imposing figure of Lincoln himself, his arms by his side and the laughter and noise of the banquet in the main hall seeping through with the wedge of light that spills across the scene from the door behind him. I am moved and have to look around at the other tourists to stop myself from getting too caught up; it’s just a museum, just some history. It’s all in the past, it doesn’t concern me...

When I got back to the hotel and considered what I’d seen I wasn’t so sure I could just gloss over the role of history anymore. Sure, when I was at the Sears Tower there was a consideration of my own past and to the people who built it but I had swept the real textbook American History under the wasn’t my place to research it. Yet now anytime I hear the sad mournful strings and shaking tambourine of this song I feel a shred of Mary Todds pain; criticised for most of her life for being a depressed useless wife to a great man, but a woman forced to watch the death of her youngest children and the assassination of her husband. An outsider trapped on the inside of history. The role of history in the creation of place cannot be overlooked, because it; Is shaped not by the universal but by the peculiar historical and geographical context of its production. (Barnes, 2003, p. 69) In order to understand the places in which we live in, a sense of history needs to be understood. Without this context understanding place becomes a series of guesses

‘A Short Reprise for Mary Todd, Who Went Insane, but for Very Good Reasons – Track 7


Chapter 5: Come on! Feel the Illinoise! into what it feels like to occupy a certain now. Only by understanding what has lead up to this ‘now’ could the full impact of the present be felt. As such I only begin to feel a connection with Springfield when exposed to such knowledge, providing a historical and emotional context for my connection to both this particular song and the place.


Chapter 5: Come on! Feel the Illinoise!

5.6 I Am Writing All Alone
I was asked to improvise on the attitude, the regret of a thousand centuries of death even in my best condition, counting all the superstition alone, I am riding all alone, I am writing all alone

Sufjan lyrics are now inseparable from own words, my own feelings. I am writing all alone. I feel lonely, disconnected and lost in this place. I don’t want to write this. I want to be able to say that I’ve made all sorts of wonderful discoveries, that I’ve had my epiphany in this penultimate leg of my journey here in Peoria and that right now I am now going to tell you exactly just what it is, tucked just behind everyday life, just beyond the view of everyone else, that I’ve blown wide open with my research. Truth is that I’ve asked myself to improvise on a thousand centuries of death, an impossible task even in my best condition. The documenting of emotions within ethnography and geography should not be under-estimated as a ‘mere reports’, instead they should be embraced as an essential component of any research process. By omitting such emotions from the research process Human Geographers are neglecting a serious aspect of how we know and intervene in the world. (Anderson & Smith, 2001). However, the ‘emotive utterances’ of the emotional geographer are inevitably flawed; no vocabulary can fully convey emotion in text. Nevertheless these attempts must be made or else a key aspect of ‘ones identity, one’s relationships, one’s prospects’ (Reddy, 1997, p. 328) is lost in the processing of ethnographic research from the field to the page (Reddy, 1997). Music is serving as an emotional catalyst in this case, increasing my own emotional geographies and fusing it with the encoded emotions of the artist (Sancar, 2003).

Excerpt from “Come of Feel the Illinois Part 2” – Track 8


Chapter 5: Come on! Feel the Illinoise!
Even with the heart of terror and the superstitious wearer I am riding all alone, I am writing all alone

But I can’t, I can’t just make up how I feel for the sake of this research what I feel needs to be recorded. The connections I felt in Chicago and Springfield aren’t here, talking to people only leads to the same monotonous conversations about my otherness, my Englishness, mentions of Sufjan draw blank looks. I am riding all alone, I am writing all alone. Regardless of the importance of emotional geographies, the emotion of loneliness still remains taboo within society, despite its argued prevalence in modern culture (Killeen, 1998), a taboo that needs to be broken if a true understanding of what it means to understand ‘other’ place is to be explored. Music, as I have seen, works in tangent with creation and manipulation of emotions. These emotions are themselves an essential part of ‘self’ and the outward portrayal of such emotions can be seen as an essential part of our performed identity. Place, as I have also seen, is intrinsically tied up to this concept of self, to view place outside of self is an impossible task for all of us. In some cases, to consider place in conjunction with the external stimulus of music serves to heighten its interpretation, in particular its emotional interpretation. This suggests that place is not solely an internal phenomenon but a product of many unseen (and seen) processes and connections reaching outside of self. Place, is just as emotionally based as any other facet of self. To explore place, is to explore emotion, for the two are inseparable in ’self’. The majority of this project has sought to do just this, to explore place subjectively, with the outcome being a dominance of emotive description and interpretation. To research place other than our ‘hearth’ there is a necessity to travel outwards into the ‘cosmos’ (Tuan, 2001). The process of travelling into this cosmos is inevitably joined by a form of othering, differentiating between the traveller visiting ‘there’ and


Chapter 5: Come on! Feel the Illinoise! those who live ‘here’. This creates displacement and estrangement, not as an theoretical concept to be appreciated by the researcher as he goes about his trip, but as an emotional response, expressed in this case as this ‘loneliness’. To talk about place, or to encode place like Sufjan, without due attention to the emotional experiences of travel and the emotional impacts of moving from hearth to cosmos (such as loneliness) is to ignore a wide avenue of human experience. In other words the travellers, or ethnographers, experience of; Self and bound to forms that belong but are subject neither to ‘home’, nor to ‘abroad’; and it is through...that the universe of there and here can be named, accounted for, and become narrative. Travellers’ tales do not only bring the over-there home, and the over-here abroad...At best, they speak to the problem of packaging a culture, or of define an authentic cultural identity. (Minhha, 1994, p. 21) Sufjans ‘ILLINOIS’ can be appreciated, not just as an attempted to encode place (to bring the over-there over-here) or to create a vicarious contact zone (to package a culture and sell it for £11.99 in a record store) but as a serious ethnographic text. A text that wholeheartedly tries to convey the emotions created by place and by the displacing nature of travel, through a medium perhaps more suited to such emotions, that of music itself.
Even in his heart the Devil has to know the water level writing Are you writing from the heart? Are you writing from the heart?

I am writing from the heart but I fear it’s not the right answer. Only two more nights though and I’ll be back in Chicago.


Chapter 6: I Can’t Explain, the State that I’m In

6 I Can’t Explain, the State that I’m In
Once I’d finally made it home I found myself unable to listen to ‘ILLINOIS’ again without a sense of dread slowly filling my body. Every note was there to be dissected, every lyrics a cryptic clue to untangle. Instead of bringing up memories of the trip the music had transformed itself into a constant reminder that my research was by no means over, that the ‘hard’ bit had only just begun. I panicked. I locked ‘ILLINOIS’ away in a box and set out to detach myself from it, to look at the trip as a research project, to analyse it and boil it down into its separate parts. Then one cold winter night in Birmingham, by accident ‘The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades’15 started playing on my laptop. Sufjan sung to me;
I can't explain the state that I'm in The state of my heart, he was my best friend All of my powers day after day tower, Deep in the tower, the prairies below I can tell you, but telling gets old Oh great sights above this State, wonders bright and rivers, lake Though we have sparred, wrestled and raged Trusting things beyond mistake I can tell you.


Excerpt from “The Predatory wasp of the Palisades” – Track 9


Chapter 6: I Can’t Explain, the State that I’m In I realised that I was never going to be able to comprehend the entirety of ‘ILLINOIS’ nor was I going to be able to convey everything I’d seen and felt about Illinois. Even with all of his powers Sufjan couldn’t either, he couldn’t explain the (emotional) State he was in, he could just ‘tell’ it and hope the listener trusted him. I remembered back to my last day in Illinois, Karl and I stood at the top of the Sears Tower looking out across the entire state. In one view sat everything I’d been trying to research, yet as I moved my head around I found myself unable to take it all in with just one glance, only able to concentrate on a single place at a time. To begin it was frustrating, but as I got used to it I started to understand that this how all things in life were. It was only by looking at the details that could the whole view, the whole place, could be glimpsed. If my research has discovered anything, it is that place is an even greater mystery than I first thought. It is Johnston’s (1991) unifier in that it all other ideas seem to somehow sprout from it, or be related to its creation. I have shown how emotion, self, history, music, estrangement and relationships (amongst others) all seem to spring from this all encompassing ‘thing’ that surrounds us in everyday life. I have also explored how this ‘thing’ should not be simply accepted or taken for granted when conducting research; place needs to be acknowledged for it is the foundation on which all knowledge is created. This knowledge is not absolute, nor is it universal; it is intimately situated within the selves of people. People who are themselves situated within the place they occupy, have occupied and carry with them in memory. Sufjans ‘Illinois’ is just one small example of such knowledge. I have tried to show this through a consideration how other people reacted and relate to Illinois and ILLINOIS but as my analysis has show it has been the consideration of my own relationships with these concepts that has been the dominate factor in my research. This, I feel, relates to the inherent difficulty that emotional aware research projects have when forced to make assumptions about others, as such I feel a more accurate representation of the


Chapter 6: I Can’t Explain, the State that I’m In relationships between my key concepts, place, self, connection and music can only be found through the consideration of personal and emotional knowledge. Importantly ILLINOIS is an example of something that, unlike many other types of academically situated knowledge, fully embraces the emotional capacity of the author/artist. An example that uses the emotions felt during the research process, not to detract from the exploration of place, but to suggest that place, whilst universal, is something intimately constructed in the mind and intrinsically tied to the emotional qualities of the mind, self and ‘being’. My research process has also shown that outward expression of self, ‘identity’ is also just as related to emotion, place and history. The construction of my identity during my journey, like ‘ILLINOIS’ , is just one example of how emotional the concept of identity can be during the process of research and how, if this process is to be fully appreciated, such emotions cannot be hidden but must be discussed. It is through these emotions, more than anything, that the feelings of connection and disconnection are felt towards the places we move through and take with us. Music, in this specific case, acts as a catalyst, enhancing emotional feedback to place, or transforming place via emotion. It has also acted as vicarious contact zone, connecting myself to other people, places and events. This suggests that whilst music does often heighten a sense of place, through its consumption a multitude of imaginary places can be created in the mind. Places that, to the creator, can seem just as real as place they have physically experienced. It is when this imagery and ‘real’ places intertwine that a true understanding of the nature of place can begin to be understood; it is intimately personal whilst totally reliant on external factors, it can be pinpointed down to a map reference or be huge, sweeping or even imaginary, it can flutter and change as quickly as a mood swing whilst also being a unifying totality that all humans share.


Chapter 6: I Can’t Explain, the State that I’m In To try and define place as any one thing is futile and accepting its fluid nature is the first step into understanding the role it plays in the nature of human existence and the music we create and enjoy.

6.1 Celebrate the New
Overall I feel the project has been successful, perhaps more so as an exploration of the research process itself than as a study of music and place. Certainly I have made some headway into what it means to try to represent place in music and the difficulties associated with trying to expose the connections between place, music and self. I have also shown how music can relate to theoretical geography in its own unique way above and beyond the ways in which other stimuli can. This academic progress is tied up to my own personal emotional journey across Illinois. It is the exploration of these emotions that I feel are the most successful aspect of my research; by illustrating how emotion is not a separate aspect of human geography but an integral one, especially relevant in the ethnographic study of ‘other’ place and music, I hope to encourage others to harness their emotional, as well as academic, responses when faced with research not just in these areas but across the discipline.

6.2 It Can Only Start With You
This is only the beginning; this research was severely stunted by time, funds and travel arrangements. If I was able to extend my research I would have attempted to conduct a wider and longer ethnographic study of Illinois and tried to explore the large number of places, people and songs that had to be omitted from this project. I would also like to explore other music created within and about the state of Illinois as well as incorporating Sufjans other ‘State Project’ album, ‘MICHIGAN’ into my research. I would also like to branch off looking just at music and instead consider the range of literature, film and photography used to capture the place of Illinois. I feel that these mediums would add considerably to my understanding, not just of Illinois, but of the concept of place as well. In particular I feel the recording of the history in all mediums is


Chapter 6: I Can’t Explain, the State that I’m In glossed over in this project and deserves a more detailed analysis than the brief mention it receives during my time in Springfield. I would also like to look at different topics, such as ‘care’, ‘age’ or ‘technology’, and consider the ways an emotionally aware research process might aid in their understanding.


Chapter 6: I Can’t Explain, the State that I’m In

6.3 Concerning the UFO Sighting near Highland, Illinois16
When the dissertation came down I couldn't imagine what it was. In the spirit of three concepts the alien thing that took its form.

Then to Illinois, Oh, God.

The flashing at night, the places grow and grow. Oh, history involved itself, Mysterious shade that took its form.

Or what it was. Incarnation. Three concepts, delivering signs and dusting from my eyes.


“Concerning the UFO Sighting near Highland, Illinois” – Track 10


Chapter 7: Bibliography

7 Bibliography
Anderson, J. (2004). The Ties that Bind? Self- and Place-identity in Enviromental Direct Action. Ethics, Place and Enviroment , 7 (1), 45-57. Anderson, K., & Smith, S. J. (2001). Editorial: Emotional Geographies. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers , 26 (1), 7-10. Bain, A. L. (2004). Invisible Geographies: Absense, Emergence, Presense, and the Fine Art of Identity Construction. Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie , 95 (4), 419-426. Barnes, T. J. (2003). The place of locational analysis: a selective and interpretive history. Progress in Human Geography , 69-95. Bernstein, H., & Campling, L. (2006). Commodity studies and commodity fetish I: Trading down. Journal of Agrarian Change , 6 (2), 239-264. Boyle, P., & Flowerdew, R. (2005). Designing the report. In R. Flowerdew, & D. Martin (Eds.), Methods in Human Geography: A guide for students doing a research project (pp. 289-300). Harlow: Pearson Education. Brewer, J. D. (2000). Ethnography. Buckingham: Open University Press. Carroll, J., & Connell, J. (2000). 'You gotta love this city': The Whitlams and inner Sydney. Australian Geography , 31 (2), 141-154. Casey, S. E. (2001). Between Geography and Philosophy. Annals of the Association of American Geographers , 91 (4), 683-693. Cohen, S. (1998). Sounding out the city: Music and the sensuos production of place. In A. Leyshon, D. Matless, & G. Revil (Eds.), The Place of Music (pp. 269-291). London: Thw Guilford Press.


Chapter 7: Bibliography Connel, J., & Gibson, C. (2004). World music: deterritorializing place and identity. Progress in Human Geography , 28 (3), 342-361. Connell, J., & Gibson, C. (2004). Vicarious Journeys: Travels in Music. Tourism Geographies , 6 (1), 2-25. Cook, I. (2002). Commodities: The DNA of capitalism. Retrieved 11 11, 2006, from Birmingham GEEs: Cook, I. (1996). Empowerment through Journal Writing? Border pedagogy at work,. Research Papers in (26). Cook, I. (2000). Nothing can ever be the case of 'us' and 'them' again: exploring the politics of difference through border pedagogy and student journal writing. Journal of geography in higher education , 24 (1), 13-27. Cook, I., & Crang, M. (1995). Doing Ethnographies: Concepts and Techniques in Modern Geography. Norwich: Enviromental Publications. Davis, C. A. (1999). Reflexive Ethnography: A guide to researching selves and others. London: Routledge. Davis, J. (1992). Tense in ethnography: Some practical considerations. In J. Okely, & H. Callaway (Eds.), Antropology & Autobiography (pp. 205-221). London: Routledge. Dixon, J., & Durrheim, K. (2000). Displacing place-identity: A discursive approach to locating self and other. British Journal of Social Psychology , 39, 27-44. Entrikin, J. N. (2001). Geographer as Humanist. In P. C. Adams, S. Hoelscher, & K. E. Till (Eds.), Textures of place: Exploring humanist geographies (pp. 426-441). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Fabian, J. (1983). Time and other: how anthropology makes its object. New York: Columbia Univercity Press.


Chapter 7: Bibliography Gould, S. J. (1991). The Self-Manipulation of my pervasive perceived vital energy through product use: An introspective-praxos perspective. Journal of Consumer Research , 18, 194-207. Graham, E. (1997). Philosophies Underlying Human Geography Research. In R. Flowerdew, & D. Martin (Eds.), Methods in Human Geography: A guide for Students doing a Research Project (pp. 6-30). Essex: Longman. Hall, S. (2001). Encoding/Decoding. In M. G. Durham, & D. M. Kellner (Eds.), Media and cultural studies (pp. 166-177). Oxford: Blackwell Publishers. Hammersley, M., & Atkinson, P. (1983). Ethnography: Principles and Practise. London: Tavistock Publications. Haraway, D. (1991). A cyborg manifesto: science, technology and socialist feminism in the late twentieth century. In D. Haraway (Ed.), Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (pp. 149-82). London: Free Association Books. Harvey, D. (1989). The condition of Post-Modernity. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hastrup, K. (1992). Writing Ethnography: State of the art. In J. Okely, & H. Callaway (Eds.), Antropology and autobiography (pp. 116-134). London: Routledge. Herbert, S. (2000). For ethnography. Progress in Human Geography , 24 (4), 550-568. Holbrook, M. B. (2005). Customer value and autoethnography: subjective personal introspection and the meanings of a photograph collection. Journal of Buisness Research , 58, 45-61. Holbrook, M. B. (1986). I'm Hip: An autobiographical account of some musical consumption experiences. Advances in consumer research , 13, 614-618. Hudson, R. (2006). Regions and place: music, identity and place. Progress in Human Geography , 30 (5), 626-634.


Chapter 7: Bibliography Jay, M. (2002). Cultural relativism and the visual turn. journal of visual culture , 267-278. Johnston, R. J. (1991). A question of place: Exploring the practise of human geography. Oxford: Blackwell. Jones, S. (2002). Music that moves: Popular music, Distribution and Network Technologies. Cultrual Studies , 16 (2), 213 - 232. Killeen, C. (1998). Loneliness: an epidemic in modern society. Journal of Advanced Nursing , 28 (4), 762-770. Kong, L. (1995). Popular Music in Geographical Analysis. Progress in Human Geography , 19, 183-198. Kunzro, H. (1997, Febuary). You Are Cyborg. Retrieved 10 11, 2006, from Lindsay, J. M. (1997). Techniques in Human Geography. London: Routledge. Locke, J. (1690). An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Retrieved 11 1, 2006, from McMaster University: Maanen, J. V. (1988). Tales of the field: On writing ethnography. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press. Martin, A. K. (1997). The Practise of Identity and an Irish Sense of Place. Gender, Place and Culture , 4 (1), 89-119. Minh-ha, T. T. (1994). Other than myself/my other self. In G. Robertson, M. Mash, L. Tickner, J. Bird, B. Curtis, & T. Putnam (Eds.), Travellers' Tales (pp. 9-29). London: Routledge. Murphy, P. D. (1999). Doing audience ethnography: A narratrive account of establising ethnographic identity and locating interpretive communities in fieldwork. Qualitative Inquiry , 479-504.


Chapter 7: Bibliography Neville-Jan, A. (2004). Selling your soul to the devil: an autoethnography of pain, pleasure and the quest for a child. Disability & Society , 19 (2), 113-127. Odland, J. (2004, May 12). An interview with Sufjan Stevens. Retrieved January 23, 2006, from Junk Media: Paasi, A. (2003). Region and place: regional identity in question. Progress in human geography , 27 (4), 475-485. Parker, S. F. (2001). Community, social identity and the structuration of power in the contemporary European city. Part One: Towards a theory of urban structuration. City , 5 (2), 189-202. Parr, H. (2001). Feeling, Reading, and Making Bodies in Space. Geographical Review , 91 (1/2), 158-167. Petrusich, A. (2004, July). Sufjan Stevens Interview. Retrieved January 23, 2006, from Pitchfork: Pratt, M. L. (1992). Introduction: criticism of the contact zone. In D. Bartholomae, & A. Petrosky (Eds.), In her imperial eyes: travel writing and transculture (pp. 1-11). London: Routledge. Prendergast, C. (2004). The Typical Outline of an Ethnographic Research Publication. Teaching Sociology , 33, 322-327. Reddy, W. M. (1997). Agaisnt Constructivism: The historical ethnography of emotions. Current Antropology , 38 (3), 327-351. Riley, J. E. (2003). Finding One’s Place in the “Family of Things”: Terry Tempest Williams and a Geography of Self. Women’s Studies , 32, 585-602. Roberson, J. E. (2001). Unchinaa Pop: Place and identity in contemporary Okinawan popular music. Critical Asian Studies , 211-242.


Chapter 7: Bibliography Rose, D. (1990). Living the Enthographic Life. London: Sage Publications. Rose, D. (1989). Patterns of American Culture. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Sancar, F. H. (2003). City, Music and Place Attachment: Beloved Istanbul. Journal of Urban Design , 8 (3), 269-291. Sanjek, R. (1991). The Ethnographic Present. Man , 26 (4), 609-628. Setten, G. (2006). Fusion or exclusion? Reflections on conceptual practices of landscape and place in human geography. Norwegian Journal of Geography , 60, 32-45. Shamai, S., & Ilatov, Z. (2005). Measuring sense of place: Methodological aspects. Tijdschrift voor Econmoishe en Sociale Geografie , 96 (5), 467-476. Shankar, A. (2000). Lost in music? Subjective personal introspection and popular music. Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal , 3 (1), 27-37. Smith, S. J. (1997). Beyond geography's visible worlds:a cultural politics of music. Progress in Human Geography , 21 (4), 502±529. Taylor, S. (2002). Researching the social: an introduction to ethnographic research. In S. Taylor, Ethnographic Research: A reader (pp. 1-13). London: Sage Publications. Thornes, J. E. (2004). The Visual Turn and Geography. Antipode , 787-794. Tuan, Y.-F. (2001). Introduction: Comos versus Hearth. In P. C. Adams, S. Hoelscher, & K. E. Till (Eds.), Textures of place: Exploring humanist geographies (pp. 319-326). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Valentine, G. (1995). Creating transgressive space: the music of kd land. Royal Geographical Society (with the Institue of British Geographers) , 474-485. Valentine, G. (2001). Whatever happened to the social? Reflections on the 'cultural turn' in British human geography. Norsk geogr. Tidsskr , 166-172.


Chapter 7: Bibliography Vinten, G. (1994). Participant Observation: A model for organised investigation? Journal of Managerial Psychology , 9 (2), 30-38. Whyte, W. F. (1996). On the evolution of street corner society. In A. Lareua, & J. Shultz (Eds.), Journeys through ethnography: Realistic accounts of fieldwork (pp. 9-75). Oxford: WestviewPress. Wolcott, H. F. (1994). Transforming Qualitative Data: Description, Analysis and Interpretation. London: Sage Publications.


Chapter 7: Bibliography



Michael Anton

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Chapter 8: Appendix

8 Appendix
8.1 ‘Illinois’ Track Listing
Tracks in bold are considered in detail in this report. 1. "Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois" – 2:09 2. "The Black Hawk War, or, How to Demolish an Entire Civilization and Still Feel Good About Yourself in the Morning, or, We Apologize for the Inconvenience but You're Going to Have to Leave Now, or, 'I Have Fought the Big Knives and Will Continue to Fight Them Until They Are off Our Lands!'" – 2:14 3. "Come On! Feel the Illinoise!" – 6:45 4. "John Wayne Gacy Jr." – 3:19 5. "Jacksonville" – 5:24 6. "A Short Reprise for Mary Todd, Who Went Insane, but for Very Good Reasons" – 0:47 7. "Decatur, or, Round of Applause for Your Step Mother!" – 3:03 8. "One Last 'Whoo-Hoo!' for the Pullman" – 0:06 9. "Chicago" – 6:04 10. "Casimir Pulaski Day" – 5:54 11. "To the Workers of the Rock River Valley Region, I Have an Idea Concerning Your Predicament, and It Involves an Inner Tube, Bath Mats, and 21 Able-bodied Men" – 1:40 12. "The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts" – 6:17 13. "Prairie Fire that Wanders About" – 2:11 14. "A Conjunction of Drones Simulating the Way in which Sufjan Stevens Has an Existential Crisis in the Great Godfrey Maze" – 0:19 15. "The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades Is Out to Get Us!" – 5:23


Chapter 8: Appendix 16. "They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come back from the Dead!! Ahhhh!" – 5:09 17. "Let's Hear that String Part Again, Because I Don't Think They Heard It All the Way out in Bushnell" – 0:40 18. "In this Temple as in the Hearts of Man for Whom He Saved the Earth" – 0:35 19. "The Seer's Tower" – 3:54 20. "The Tallest Man, the Broadest Shoulders" – 7:03 21. "Riffs and Variations on a Single Note for Jelly Roll, Earl Hines, Louis Armstrong, Baby Dodds, and the King of Swing, to Name a Few" – 0:46 22. "Out of Egypt, into the Great Laugh of Mankind, and I Shake the Dirt from My Sandals as I Run" – 4:21

8.2 Contents of CD Accompaniment
1. Excerpt from ‘Chicago’ 2. Excerpt from ‘Decatur’ 3. Excerpt from ‘The Black Hawk War ‘ 4. Excerpt from ‘John Wayne Gacy Jr.’ 5. Excerpt from ‘Come on! Feel the Illinoise!’ 6. Excerpt from ‘The Sears Tower’ 7. ‘A Short Reprise for Mary Todd, Who Went Insane, but for Very Good Reasons’ 8. Excerpt from ‘Come on Feel the Illinoise (part 2)’ 9. Excerpt from ‘The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades is out to get us!’ 10. ‘Concerning the UFO sighting near Highland, Illinois’


Chapter 8: Appendix

8.3 Rose’s Ethnographic Checklist
Ethnography should include: • • • • • • The author’s voice and own emotions Critical, theoretical, humanist mini-essays The conversations, voices, attitudes, visual genres, gestures, reactions and concerns of daily life of the people – there will be a story line Poetics will also join the prose Pictures, photos, and drawings The junctions between analytic, fictive, poetic, narrative and critical genres will be marked clearly in the text but will co-habit the same volume. (Rose, 1990, p. 57)


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