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Iván A. Ramos

Iván A. Ramos is a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Ethnic Studies at UC Riverside. He received his PhD in Performance Studies from UC Berkeley. His project examines how Mexican and U.S. Latina/o artists and publics utilized sound to articulate negation in the wake of NAFTA. His writing appears or is forthcoming in ARARA: Art and Architecture of the Americas, Women & Performance, Studies in Gender and Sexuality, and Ayotzinapa: An Anthology.

“Nicotine Stains: On Siouxsie Sioux’s Racial Publics” 
Although there has been much attention given to the phenomenon of Latina/o Morrissey fans, much less space has been devoted to the way this aurally constituted culture extends beyond the Mancunian singer. Part of the interest around the Morrissey fan base has centered on how his croon allows straight male listeners a space of homosocial bonding. This essay explores how another singer, Siouxsie Sioux, gives queer and female listeners a relational space rooted in a feminist Goth aesthetic consonant with their sense of double difference.

In particular, I examine the works of Los Angeles-based Latina/Asian American artist Shizu Saldamando and her integration of Siouxsie as an icon across a variety of drawings. First, I show that Sioux becomes a particularly potent figure that reclaims racialized female iconography beyond the image of the Virgen of Guadalupe. By doing so, Sioux creates the impulse to encounter Latinidad beyond the rhetorics of assimilation and anti-assimilation. I then turn toward French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy’s writings on listening and drawing to show how Siouxsie Sioux allows queer and feminist Latina/o listeners an entry into what I call an idle Latinidad, a form of being rooted in non-productivity and friendship. Through this exploration of Saldamando’s work we hear Siouxsie’s voice resonate through the images, blurring the distinction between forms and subjects.

“The Racial Publics of Siouxsie Sioux”
Since emerging from the London punk scene of the mid-1970s, Siouxsie Sioux’s iconic wail has crawled through the dark hallways and corners of myriad countercultures. Moving from punk to post-punk, or goth to pop, Sioux reigns supreme over an audience of misfits that reach from the disaffected youth of her suburban, south-east London childhood to Latino fan culture in contemporary Los Angeles. This panel offers a series of critical meditations on the work of Siouxsie Sioux, focusing in particular on Siouxsie’s voice as it resonates throughout a host of minoritarian lifeworlds. The panelists—drawn from a range of fields that include performance studies, Asian American studies, Latino/a studies, and critical ethnic studies—offer a series of meditation inflected by queer of color critique and woman of color feminism in order to explore the racial publics of Siouxsie Sioux. That is, the panel theorizes the interanimation between Siouxsie Sioux’s work and minoritarian cultural practices. Chambers-Letson suggests that we might hear the sound of a communism of incommensurability as it emerges from the intersection of punk and Blackness in the appropriation of Siouxsie’s voice by contemporary acts The Weeknd and Santigold. Lee articulates Siouxsie’s voice as a critical site for rethinking the relationship between white women and white femininity and the aesthetic traditions of Orientalism and modernist primitivism. Ramos explores how Siouxsie’s voice offers queer and feminist Latino/a listeners a mode of being together rooted in non-productivity and friendship. Finally, Rodriguez offers a meditation on the temporal limits of punk, exploring Siouxsie and the Banshee’s disavowal of the constraints of identification and, by extension, identity. This panel will thus explore Sioux’s voice as it resonates within and across the black and brown undercommons.

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