Attending to race has become essential in ethnomusicology at least since publication of Music and the Racial Imagination (2000). And what sort of musical performance could be more imaginary than air guitar? Competitive air guitarists realized long before scholars that their art form provided an ideal means by which to contest the overwhelming whiteness of rock and electric guitar, sometimes extending their critique to include gender as well. Asian and Asian American competitors in particular used their one-minute stage performances to comment ironically on the emasculation of Asian males and the infantilization of Asian females through the construct of "Asian fury." Based on field research in Germany, Finland, and the United States since 2009, this article argues that air guitar performance has helped certain audiences to reimagine the linkages between race and rock.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cultural Studies