Presentation Notes: “Free Your Mind”


Intertextuality Predecessors:


Song Videos:







Joshua Zintel

HUM 6801

March 22, 2019


Paper Proposal:

Questions of Counterhegemony in Free Your Mind by En Vogue



Lawrence Grossberg’s concepts of “articulation” and “conjunctural analysis” as given in Cultural Studies in the Future Tense (2010) suggest a number of theoretical approaches for considering the topoi of counterhegemony as they contextualize through music. Specifically, this paper will construct articulations contiguous to the social spaces of En Vogue’s 1992 song “Free Your Mind,” with special attention to its mediation through the official video. Grossberg’s work will be heavily consulted for the trellis-frame to start the project, while the targeted intertextual media themselves will be sifted through the conceptual lenses of Butler (performative taxonomy and subversion), Gramsci-Lears (“spontaneous philosophy”), and Iser (complication of the ontology of reading). Broadly speaking, since this will be a cultural studies project of articulation, the critical readings of the song’s media will be accompanied and contextualized by parallel readings of intertextual relationships. Therefore, the proposed tentative bibliography contains not only scholarly works on critical readings of music, but also cultural samples such as term papers and ‘click bait’ articles to be read as intertextual material culture. Further intertextual references will extend the conjuncture into cultural texts of economy/industry, education, gossip, and ethnographic samples(interviews, conversations, or posts), 1990s music, and late 1980s television.

Since the song references rebukes of assumptions based on appearance (“I wear tight clothing and high heel shoes…It doesn’t mean that I’m a prostitute,” among others) and issues prescriptive indices (“Before you can read me you gotta learn how to see me / I said Free your mind and the rest will follow / Be colour blind, don’t be so shallow.”), it provokes questions regarding the conjunctural anatomy of social realizations (or lack thereof) of counterhegemony. To what degree does the song’s mediation incite material acts of counterhegemony? In what ways, perhaps instead, does it reflect an already present attitude, and therefore act as a symptom of already present acts of subverting reactionary prejudices of racism and sexism? How do the contradictions inherent in the discourses and mediation of the song undermine any counterhegemonic pedagogy, if at all?


Tentative Bibliography


Bryant, Kendra Nicole, “‘Free Your Mind . . . and the Rest Will Follow’: A Secularly Contemplative Approach To Teaching High School English” (2012). Graduate Theses and Dissertations.

En Vogue. “Free your Mind.” YouTube, 2010.

“En Vogue.” Miles Ahead Entertainment. 2018

En Vogue Craze. “On Set Interview.” YouTube, 2018.

Gardener, Eriq. “En Vogue: What Happened After the R&B Group Lost Its Harmony.” The Hollywood Repoter, March, 2013.

Korczynski, Marek. “Music and Meaning on the Factory Floor.” Work and Occupation, Vol. 34 No. 3. 2007.

Grossberg, Lawrence. Cultural Studies in the Future Tense. Duke University Press, 2010.

Schreyer, Jessica. “A Semester by Song” The Atrium, Spring 2014. Ivy Tech Community College.

Sonnega, William. “Morphing Borders: The Remanence of MTV.” TDR (1988-), vol. 39, no. 1, 1995, pp. 45–61. JSTOR,

Wunderlich, Sarah “The Concept of Racism, Stereotypes and Prejudices Reflected in En Vogue’s ‘Free Your Mind’.” Munich, GRIN Verlag,




B.A. completed! M.A. to follow!

Having completed the last two requirements of undergraduate work despite not being enrolled (done via CLEPs!) I am now awaiting the final result of a degree audit to make sure everything is on point.

This has been an amazing journey full of pain, sacrifice, exultation, and wonder.

I finished with a flourish — this was not easy but instead rather traumatic. I’m still recovering.

Looking forward to starting my graduate chapter! (Assuming I get a TA post to cover tuition… )



What Might the ScienceHumanities Look Like?

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Cardiff ScienceHumanities

martin-willisMartin Willis
Professor of English
Cardiff University
ScienceHumanities Initiative Principal Investigator
Chair of the British Society for Literature and Science
Editor of the Journal of Literature and Science

In various disciplines we have come close to using the term ScienceHumanities in recent years.

There is, firstly, the long-standing Medical Humanities, which would reasonably claim to be an interdiscipline of its own. However, the medical humanities have been notoriously difficult to define, and have very bifurcated groups. Secondly, in eco-critical studies the phrase environmental humanities is, if not commonplace, then recognisably in use. In that arena it is a useful shorthand for the variety of disciplines that might combine and interact to focus attention on environmental challenges.

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Last weekend saw several major newspapers publishing their books of the year list. Unfortunately these displayed, in several aspects, a serious lack of balance. Science and history of science books came up more than somewhat short and in some categories the male dominance was glaring. The latter problem provoked the following tweet by historian and history book author Lucy Worsley:

8 of 9 of the ‘history books of the year’ in today’s Times, and 19 out of 21 of ditto in today’s Telegraph, are by men. I’m not impressed. Lucy Worsley

In reaction to this tweet a hash tag sprang into life, #HistoryBooksbyWomen, under which some just listed the names of female history book authors and others tweeted names and book titles. My discipline the history of science is blessed with many excellent female historians, authors of many first class books. This being the case I thought that I…

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New guidelines aim to improve understanding of scientific data

Further work in research on ontological visualization, via

“Scientific information is one factor that can influence decision-making to achieve change, and visualisation of data through graphics – such as graphs, diagrams and thematic maps – plays an important role in the communication of climate change findings to both expert and non-specialist audiences.”

Read more at:


Berkeley Lab: Revealing the Fluctuations of Flexible DNA in 3-D

“First-of-their-kind images by Berkeley Lab-led research team could aid in use of DNA to build nanoscale devices.”

Bookmarked for consideration of STEM pedagogical modeling and narratives-research in data visualization.

Academic Aspirations of Joshua Zintel