Karen Tongson - "Why Karen Carpenter Matters" - Lauren Berlant

Thursday, October 17, 2019 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Karen Tongson

A tale of two Karens, "Why Karen Carpenter Matters" is a story of displacement in which Karen Tongson brilliantly reveals how those of us who live outside the narrow confines of white, cisgender, capitalist America found a home—and a voice—in the aural landscape of a seemingly quintessential white-bread, suburban American pop star—Karen Carpenter.Mx Justin Vivian Bond, Author of Tango: My Childhood Backwards & in High Heels

Karen Tongson discusses "Why Karen Carpenter Matters" with Lauren Berlant. A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.

At the Co-op

This event is being co-presented by The Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality.  

RSVP HERE (Please note that your RSVP is requested but not required.)

About the book: In Why Karen Carpenter Matters, Karen Tongson (whose Filipino musician parents named her after the pop icon) interweaves the story of the singer’s rise to fame with her own trans-Pacific journey between Manila—where imitations of American pop styles flourished—and Karen Carpenter’s home ground of Southern California. Tongson reveals why the Carpenters' chart-topping, seemingly whitewashed musical fantasies of "normal love" can now have profound significance for her—as well as for other people of color, LGBT+ communities, and anyone outside the mainstream culture usually associated with Karen Carpenter’s legacy. This hybrid of memoir and biography excavates the destructive perfectionism at the root of the Carpenters’ sound, while finding the beauty in the singer's all too brief life.

About the author: Karen Tongson is associate professor of English, gender and sexuality studies, and American studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California. She is also the author of Relocations: Queer Suburban Imaginaries and the co-editor of the Postmillennial Pop book series at NYU Press. Her cultural commentary has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and other publications, and she is a panelist on MaximumFun.org's “Pop Rocket” podcast. 

About the interlocutor: Lauren Berlant is George M. Pullman Professor of English at the University of Chicago. She is the author or editor of eight books, including Cruel Optimism and The Female Complaint: The Unfinished Business of Sentimentality in American Culture, as well as her most recent book, The Hundreds (with Kathleen Stewart).

Event Location: 
The Seminary Co-op Bookstore
5751 S Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637