DJ Juan Atkins, DJ Terrence Parker,
DJ Minx, DJ Marcellus "Malik" Pittman
DJ Rick Wilhite, DJ Mike Clark
DJ Theo Parrish
Cornelius "Atlantis" Harris,

October 21, 2006
Willkie Auditorium
Techno Overview
Written by: Dr. Portia K. Maultsby & Denise Dalphond
Portia K. Maultsby, Ph.D.
Chairperson: Department of Ethnomusicology, Indiana University
Director: Archives of African American Music & culture
Professor: Ethnomusicology and Folklore,
Adjunct faculty: School of Music
Affiliated faculty: African Studies, and American Studies
Specialization: Popular music, the music industry, African American music.
Denise Dalphond,
Ph.D. Student, Department of Folklore & Ethnomusicology
What is techno?  Why is this conference important?

Techno, an electronically produced form of dance music using drum machines, multi-track mixers, computers, and samplers, is perceived by many musicians, as well as by the popular print and visual media, as having its origins in European rave culture.  To the contrary, techno has its beginnings in African American parties and dance clubs in Detroit in the late 1970s.  This music and its creators subsequently became popular in Europe at rave parties in the late-1980s, while slowly losing community support in Detroit.  During the 1990s, techno returned to the United States and became associated with rave parties attended by white teenagers and young adults and the productions of European and American white DJs.  This music remains popular today and provides the reference for sonic innovations of DJs and producers of European and American contemporary popular forms such as drum ‘n’ bass, hard house, down-tempo, trance, and hip hop.

This re-contextualization and the subsequent re-labeling of techno have made invisible techno’s African American origins and identity.  Furthermore, the techno genre, its national and global influence, and the role of African Americans in its development are all topics that have been excluded from the collection development activities of libraries and music archives and, thus, the systematic critique of scholars.  As a consequence, techno is also notably absent from scholarship and standard curricula on African American and American popular musics.  In fact, there has been only one educational attempt to collect and exhibit artifacts significant to the history of this genre.  The exhibit, titled “Techno: Detroit’s Gift to the World,” was held at the Detroit Historical Museum from January 2003 until August 2004. 

To initiate archival collections and facilitate scholarly research on techno, the Archives of African American Music and Culture (AAAMC) is organizing and hosting the first-ever conference on Detroit techno music, “Roots of Techno: Black DJs and the Detroit Scene,” to be held at Indiana University on Saturday, October 21, 2006.  By bringing together the voices of techno DJs and music scholars in an academic setting and documenting this conversation for deposition in the Archives, it is the AAAMC’s goal to start filling the archival void and encourage attention to this genre within the broader study of African American history and culture.   

Click HERE for brief bibliography. .  

Important Registration Information!!!

Please note that this conference occurred in 2006. We are no longer accepting registration forms.

Advance Registration
(Deadline: Monday, October 16, 2006)
Student: $5.00/person (with ID)
Non-student: $15.00/ person

After October 16, 2006, please plan on registering at the door.
Student: $8.00/person (with ID)
Non-student: $20.00/person


The conference has been partially funded by the College Arts and Humanities Institute with co-sponsors: the IU Departments of African and African American Diaspora Studies, American Studies, Communication and Culture, Folklore and Ethnomusicology, School of Journalism, African American Arts Institute, Foster International Living-Learning Center, RPS Academic Initiatives and Services, Foster Quad Community Council, and Foster Quad Student Government. Additional support has been provided by the record labels Sound Signature and Unirhythm, and the record outlet Vibes New & Rare Music.

Designed by: Gillian Richards-Greaves
Last Updated:
March 22, 2010

March 22, 2010March 22, 2010