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“I think, at a child's birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity.” --Eleanor Roosevelt
It is apropos that the Mars Rover, bouncing and trekking across the red planet is named CURIOSITY. Polymaths, too, are a curious lot. Professor Josh Kun is one such exemplar polymath, an intellectual rover of sorts, gifted with a heavy dose of curiosity. He will discuss with us the utility of inquisitiveness in his research on such topics as the cultural, racial, and political meanings in music, food, film, and whatever it is he is working on at the moment. Einstein said, “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.” Professor Kun will articulate for us how the mysterious inspires his curiosity – and that it is not only beautiful but also has transformative energy to change things up.
Josh Kun, Professor of Communications
Josh Kun is a polymathic practitioner, holding a joint appointment as a Professor of Communication and Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity. Professor Kun's research focuses on the arts and politics of cultural connection, with an emphasis on popular music, the cultures of globalization, the US-Mexico border, and Jewish-American musical history. He is director of The Popular Music Project at USC Annenberg's The Norman Lear Center and co-editor of the book series "Refiguring American Music" for Duke University Press. Kun is curently completing two books: The Ballad of Tijuana: Music Across the California-Mexico Border (UC Press) and Allá: Mexican Music in 21st Century America (Duke UP). He is the author of Audiotopia: Music, Race, and America (UC Press), which won a 2006 American Book Award and two books based on the special collections of the Los Angeles Public Library: Songs in the Key of Los Angeles (2013, Angel City Press) which was awarded a Phi Kappa Phi Faculty Merit Recognition Award, and To Live and Dine in L.A.: Menus and the Making of the Modern City (2015, Angel City Press). He founded the USC Annenberg Distinguished Lecture Series on Latin American Arts & Culture, which he now runs in collaboration with the USC Latino Alumni Association. Professor Kun has also recently been awarded the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, known informally as the “genius grant.”