SEM Student News: Who Cares About Ethnomusicology?

SEM Student News, Student Voices

Who Cares About Ethnomusicology

By Kevin Sliwoski (University of California, Riverside)

In this, my first “Student Voices” column, I offer my thoughts on how SEM might extend its political influence. This column is inherently a forum for multiple viewpoints; I begin here with my own in hope that our readers will participate in this exchange of ideas around ethnomusicology as a field, a “brand,” and a positionality. My research this past year on the sonic and political consequences of the US Military overseas has led me to settings and conversations far outside of ethnomusicology, some of which made me intimately aware of various challenges within our field and its outward appearance. I want to begin a conversation to which junior and senior Society for Ethnomusicology members may contribute. I would like for this space to continue as an outlet for students to voice their thoughts and concerns and to challenge current practices and approaches with new ideas. As such, I warmly invite ethnomusicology students to participate in our Student Union and all readers to respond to our discussions in this publication via email, Facebook, and the SU Blog. We welcome your perspectives.

 

Who Cares About Ethnomusicology?

How many times have you been met with awkward pauses, confusion, or skepticism when you tell someone—usually a family member—that you study “ethnomusicology”? How many times have you had to qualify or over-explain what an “ethnomusicologist” does? You might have experienced this exchange more than once. It does not help that ethnomusicology is a rather cumbersome, difficult-to-explain word (for example, see Nettl [1983] 2005). As representatives of the discipline, our soft underbelly is often our field’s lack of public legibility and institutional recognition. This barrier can frustrate our efforts to engage with individuals, communities, and institutions outside of our own. It can also make advocacy more difficult. Part of the problem is the reception of music studies by other disciplines. Nettl reminds us that, “in Western academic culture, musicians have made it known that others can’t really understand and talk about music, while people in other fields stay away” (Nettl 2010, 98). These arbitrary borders have isolated the study of music as an ultra-specialized field and music cultures as off limits to non-specialists, often leaving ethnomusicologists at a disadvantage. This divide has begun to thaw out with the injection of sound studies into the academy.

For many years, SEM as a collective has been moving toward deliberate and calculated public engagement beyond individual research, publications, and advocacy efforts. Our called for ethnomusicologists to “disseminate our research, teaching, and activism in ways that are more public and more political.” Certainly our efforts should be public, political, and present. However, for whom “has [it] become clear that our work is more important now than ever”? If one of the problems of our discipline is being known, then our position statements and research remain internal and, worse, peripheral within the academy and to the public. I am glad that SEM issues position statements that condemn actions, individuals, and organizations that oppose the ethical standards we hold ourselves to as researchers and humanists—but who, outside of SEM, reads them?

As ethnomusicologists, how can we expect to be engaged in the political—to be advocates—when those around us are not even sure what we do? How effective are our political positions if they are not widely read or disseminated? If our first conversation point is to define our profession, that is time spent explaining or defining a problem rather than time spent solving one. To take up the call of applied or engaged or political ethnomusicology requires us to have influence and recognition beyond our own ranks and beyond the borders of the academy.

I think SEM’s proposed five-year strategic plan addresses the correct issues, especially the call to “Promote Ethnomusicology” and “Expand Public, Applied, and Advocacy Initiatives” (Cowdery 2018, 5). But how do we execute these suggestions? Before I offer my own ideas, I want to address one major issue that I think continues to hold back SEM’s efforts to be a relevant political force.

 

On Naming and Branding

Although labels and definitions have been much debated in ethnomusicology (see Nettl [1983] 2005 and 2010; Rice 2014; Bigenho 2009), it warrants a place here. We are still burdened by the fact that, during the development of our discipline, we were not entirely successful in representing and defining our field to the public. And now, the public and many other academics remain unclear on what ethnomusicology is, what we do, and why it matters. As of April 8, 2018, our society’s definition of ethnomusicology on our website is somewhat opaque, yet it is our main point of contact with a public audience. Consider the opening phrase of our definition:

“Ethnomusicology is the study of music in its cultural context. Ethnomusicologists approach music as a social process in order to understand not only what music is but why it is: what music means to its practitioners and audiences, and how those meanings are conveyed.”

This definition does not clarify ethnomusicology, or the work ethnomusicologists do, to the general public. Additionally, why is this fundamental information tucked away, three clicks from SEM’s homepage?

However, as of April 8, 2018, our profile and definition are better represented with the American Council of Learned Sciences (ACLS):

“to promote the research, study, and performance of music in all historical periods and cultural contexts.”

It’s still not perfect, but it is clear and concise, and ACLS’s user-friendly website makes this definition more accessible.

Now, compare SEM’s definition of ethnomusicology to the American Anthropological Association’s answer to “What is Anthropology?”:

“Anthropology is the study of humans, past and present.”

This definition is short, evocative and idealistic. It is easily found as soon as you click on AAA’s main webpage. It forms an important part of AAA’s brand, which is carefully and professionally rendered online. AAA has an attractively-designed website that is easy to click through. It has big text, bold headlines, and bright photos. It invites visitors in. The website shows how seriously AAA takes the business of anthropology and demonstrates the discipline’s maturity and the value it holds for its mission and members. In his 2004 SEM Newsletter column on political advocacy, then-SEM president Timothy Rice found AAA’s website to be “rich with ideas you might want to consider” (3). AAA has developed and invested in a brand—SEM should consider doing the same. Ethnomusicology does not have a unified, clear, and accessible definition of our discipline, and it does not have a dynamic brand. We, as a professional organization, need to define ourselves and debate what our public profile is going to look like. And, if engaging with the public and taking political positions is important to us, how much are we willing to spend to rehabilitate our public image so that our research is more known? With recognition, we might better advocate for those people and communities we care about.

Lobbying and Public Relations

I suggest that the Society for Ethnomusicology should consider hiring a professional public relations firm or a professional lobbying firm (or both) to better represent our society and our goals publicly to the world and to our elected officials. Instead of Executive Director Stephen Stuempfle breathlessly “pounding the pavement” of Capitol Hill (Barz 2018, 3), we might have professional advocates coolly working on our behalf full time who can devote their energies to advocating for ethnomusicology and for the humanities. I would guess that many of us would like to be more public and engaged as advocates but cannot because professional and institutional responsibilities (and sometimes distance) preclude us from such activities. Why not hire someone to cover the ground we cannot at the congressional level?

I recognize that outsourcing our problems and advocacy efforts may not satisfy any personal desires to be public advocates. And I am not suggesting that lobbying become a substitute; rather, it would be a supplement to other endeavors. It is a way to be professionally connected to politics without the considerable investment of time, travel, and money that may be out of reach for many practicing ethnomusicologists. In consideration of the balance needed between professional ethics and lobbying, we should be cautious and deliberate if we choose to lobby. Thanks to David Price (2016), we know some of the risks that political and governmental collaboration can pose to our ethical responsibilities as researchers. We do not want our discipline to be “quietly shaped” (xi) by government influence or follow the example of past academics who “ignored the political contexts in which the projects were embedded” (123), in exchange for research funding or access to communities provided through programs such as USAID in the 1960s.

However, reflexively examining our politics, ethics, and brand might result in works or actions that elevate our discipline and connect us to new people. The Counter-Counterinsurgency Manual (2009) organized by the Network of Concerned Anthropologists was a visible and public ideological challenge from an academic society against the US Military’s Iraq War counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine—the “winning hearts and minds” approach to combat, which emphasized culture and communication rather than bombs and bullets. It also served to condemn social scientists who embedded with US forces through the Human Terrain Systems (HTS) program (see United States 2007; McFate and Laurence 2016; Gonzalez 2015). The meta-commentary on HTS is complicated, but, in this effort, these anthropologists responded. They advocated for Iraqis, for ethical research practices, and for accountability they felt had been sacrificed. SEM’s 2007 Position Statement on Torture functioned in a similar fashion but on a much smaller scale. I am not sure what the public relevancy of that position statement has been, besides Suzanne Cusick’s (2006; 2008) exceptional series of articles, to which the statement directly refers. Could we—should we—have done more then? How can we do more now?

I note several obstacles we need to address when it comes to lobbying: funding, representation and management, ethics, and legality. In regard to funding for outreach and lobbying efforts, SEM could consider raising membership dues, which would be a simple, albeit possibly unpopular, solution. Likewise, for representation and management, SEM could create a service position (e.g., “Political Outreach Representative”) within the Ethics Committee to facilitate and communicate with our hired representatives. Ideally, this would include both student and professional input. Naturally, the Ethics Committee and board would need to thoroughly review such a project and verify whether a lobbying effort fundamentally violates the society’s mission. If the SEM board and/or society members could agree on a lobbying or PR campaign, there would no doubt be a series of changes and adjustments to the bylaws of SEM. There are limits to the amount of lobbying a nonprofit organization can engage in, so as not to jeopardize the organization’s tax-exempt status. While the Internal Revenue Service, as of May 21, 2018, outlines that “some lobbying” is acceptable, the IRS also explains that “organizations may . . . involve themselves in issues of public policy without the activity being considered as lobbying,” and use the examples of educational activities and the distribution of educational materials as an avenue of involvement without lobbying. While navigating the legal territory of lobbying might prove too much, I believe that influencing public policy through education and our expertise is within our reach and might satisfy efforts to expand political advocacy and activism within SEM.

Service Ethnomusicology

I think that being an advocate—a successful advocate—means setting aside a degree of self-reflexivity. Ethnomusicologists like to be present in their written work, and this is part of our training. Although self-reflexivity and autoethnography may be held up as important tools for the ethnomusicologist, it can be a shaky line between reflection and indulgence. Advocating is about public support for a cause, group, or individual. Advocating is not concerned with the wants and needs of the advocate—although, of course, there can be significant overlap. To be successful advocates today might require us to downplay the ego of self-reflexivity in our work and direct that energy inward to our discipline. This might then allow our communities to become the sole focus of our efforts.

In our pursuit to be engaged, applied, advocate, or public ethnomusicologists, the term that might best represent all such efforts is “service ethnomusicology.” We are in service to our consultants, our discipline, our society, and what SEM is now gesturing to: society and politics. I think the shift to a service ethnomusicology mindset or training might further point us in a more productive direction.

References

Barz, Gregory. 2018. “Sounding Advocacy in Ethnomusicology.” SEM Newsletter 52 (2): 3–4.

Bigenho, Michelle. 2009. “Why I’m Not an Ethnomusicologist: A View from Anthropology.” In The New (Ethno)musicologies, edited by Henry Stobart, 28–39. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.

Cowdery, James, ed. 2018. “SEM 2017–2022 Strategic Plan.” SEM Newsletter 52 (2): 5–6.

Cusick, Suzanne. 2006. “Music as Torture/Music as Weapon.” TRANS-Revista Transcultural de Musica 10. http://www.sibetrans.com/trans/a152/music-as-torture-music-as-weapon.

———. 2008. “‘You Are in a Place That Is Out of the World . . .’: Music in the Detention Camps of the ‘Global War on Terror.’” Journal of the Society for American Music 2 (1): 1–26.

Gonzalez, Roberto J. 2015. “The Rise and Fall of the Human Terrain System.” Counterpunch, June 29, 2015. https://www.counterpunch.org/2015/06/29/the-rise-and-fall-of-the-human-terrain-system/.

McFate, Montgomery, and Janice H. Laurence, eds. 2016. Social Science Goes to War: The Human Terrain System in Iraq and Afghanistan. New York: Oxford University Press.

Nettl, Bruno. (1983) 2005. “The Harmless Drudge: Defining Ethnomusicology.” In The Study of Ethnomusicology: Thirty-One Issues and Concepts, 3–15. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

———. 2010. Nettl’s Elephant: On the History of Ethnomusicology. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Network of Concerned Anthropologists. 2009. The Counter-Counterinsurgency Manual. Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press.

Price, David. 2016. Cold War Anthropology: The CIA, the Pentagon, and the Growth of Dual Use Anthropology. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Rice, Timothy. 2004. “SEM and Political Advocacy.” SEM Newsletter 38 (2): 1, 3–4.

———. 2014. Ethnomusicology: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press.

United States. 2007. The U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual: U.S. Army Field Manual No. 3–24: Marine Corps Warfighting Publication no. 3–33.5. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

 

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Come Experience Shakuhachi, Japan’s bamboo flute of Zen

20th Anniversary Shakuhachi Summer Camp of the Rockies June 21-25

Come join all levels of shakuhachi performers, professionals, and enthusiasts this summer in the breathtaking Rocky Mountains. From the beginnings of the World Shakuhachi Festival 1998 in Boulder, the biggest event in the modern history of the shakuhachi, presenting its 20th camp this year: the Shakuhachi Summer Camp of the Rockies.

Sunrise Ranch
100 Sunrise Ranch Road, Loveland, Colorado 80538, United States
https://www.shakucamp.com

shakuhachi 2

Shakuhachi Camp of the Rockies is the longest running international shakuhachi intensive in the world. Likewise, the combined performing and teaching experience of the faculty is unparalleled:

Yôdô Kurahashi II  ̶  Kyoto, Japan
Kaoru Kakizakai  ̶  Tokyo, Japan
Riley Lee  ̶  Sydney, Australia
Christopher Yohmei Blasdel  ̶  Honolulu, HI
David Kansuke Wheeler  ̶  Boulder, CO

Yoko Hiraoka  ̶  Louisville, CO

Scholarships are available and Beginners Welcome!  Beginner students will be provided with their own core curriculum, and all levels, from absolute beginner (even if you’ve never before picked up a shakuhachi!) to advanced, will have the opportunity to study a select number of pieces with a thoroughness and depth not possible in other festivals or workshops. Rockies Camp has an emphasis on total immersion in playing, learning and experiencing the profound world of the shakuhachi, with Honkyoku (solo Zen music), Sankyoku (ensemble pieces), Folk, Modern Improvisation and more.  There are also special concerts by the faculty and students and other engaging programs every night during Camp.

Bi-lingual:  All lectures and classes will be conducted bilingually in English and Japanese. At the bottom of this post you will find a Hogaku Journal Article in Japanese.

The Community:
Becoming part of and engaging with a community of shakuhachi kindred spirits benefits even players of as introspective a musical instrument as the shakuhachi. Seeing the ‘painful’ struggle of others can be both reassuring and motivating. The Rockies Camp community continues to provide support, friendship, and opportunities to play together throughout the year to those who want a break from the solitude experienced by most shakuhachi enthusiasts.

Previous Campers want to share the special experiences and community of shared study, practice and living that this camp creates with new participants from all around the world in a relaxed yet dedicated environment. Participation at this camp will directly enhance any shakuhachi player or musician’s life with the opportunity to study with some of the world’s finest masters of the shakuhachi, listed above.

Events include a Student Concert and Duet Night—and attending lectures and workshops regarding all aspects of shakuhachi theory, history and practice. You are welcome to join in a variety of extracurricular activities, including Sunrise Ro-buki, Morning Yoga and Meditation and evening socializing, in a full-time celebration of this instrument, its music and its community.

Take a look at this quick camp introduction by faculty member, David Wheeler:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1kM2ly73Uw

Highlights and the camp experience:

All students may observe any breakout class they like. However, they may not participate unless capable at the class level (e.g. an advanced class instructor will not make time for additional explanation or instruction for beginners who choose to attend).

As a special 20th Shakuhachi Camp event, each faculty member will perform one piece and tell the story behind its significance, including personal, musical and/or historical contexts. Sunrise Ro-buki is a wonderful way to start the camp day with the long tone blowing of RO (ロ) to greet the rising sun at Moon Rock above Sunrise. All students and faculty gather to play multi-part arrangements of pieces, mostly not traditional Japanese, but also including some Honkyoku duets, etc. All students are encouraged to participate in the student concert, playing the piece of their choice, either solo or ensemble (which includes some group pieces for absolute beginners and beginners). After-hours get to know the faculty better and meet your new camper friends at the social hosted by faculty.

Concerts

·  Masters of the Shakuhachi in Boulder Pre-camp Concert in Boulder on June 20 at 7PM (venue TBA). An enchanting evening of music of the Japanese Bamboo Flute, presented by internationally acclaimed artists. This public concert is a special celebration of these artists’ gathering in Colorado for the Shakuhachi Summer Camp of the Rockies showcasing pieces especially for this occasion.
·  Masters of the Shakuhachi at Sunrise Ranch Saturday, June 23 at 7:30 PM. This showcase recital features the full faculty of the Shakuhachi Summer Camp of the Rockies performing a concert of solo and ensemble works, both modern and classical in the Dome at Sunrise Ranch.

Registration Fees:

  • Early-bird Registration Rates are good until April 30, 2018 for Flute Society members: $400
  • Regular Registration Fee: $450

Special Tuition for Absolute Beginners (new to the shakuhachi) attending Camp for the First Time: $200

  • Registration Fee after March 31, 2018: $250· Scholarships: for the first time since its inception in 1998, we are offering a limited number of full and partial scholarships based on need and merit, and aimed especially at those who aspire to eventually become teachers.

For more on how to register as a 2018 Shakuhachi Camp participant: https://shakucamp.com/registration

Lodging:
Participants are responsible for making their own lodging plans, by registering directly with Sunrise Ranch at the bottom of their page.

For additional Camp information and lodging: https://shakucamp.com/camp-info

This is more than just a memorable event, and I hope to see you there!

With love,

Cali Alexander, flute & shakuhachi

Hogaku Journal Article

「世界の尺八」は二十歳

デビッド勘輔ウィラー(琴古流尺八奏者・音楽学者)

今年、2つのイベント

ロンドン 国際尺八 フェスティバル

今年の夏に尺八界にとって二つの記念的イベントがあります。その一つは8月の「ワールド尺八フェスティバル(WSF)2018inロンドン」の開催です。1998年にアメリカ・コロラド州の「ボルダー国際尺八フェスティバル」はこういった海外フェスティバルの最初で、そこに世界各地より300人の参加者・出演者が集合し、1週間にわたって、大小20公演以上の演奏会で5000人の集客を得ました。奈良時代の東大寺大仏開眼供養以来、尺八史上最大のイベントとなったといえるかもしれません。以降、WSFは東京(02年)、ニューヨーク(04年)、シドニー(08年)、京都(12年)と平均4年に一度の開催が続き、今年のロンドンWSFでちょうど20年の節目を迎えます。

本曲を中心に海外の尺八愛好家人口はこの間ずっと増え続けています。オーストラリア尺八協会やヨーロッパ尺八協会、台湾尺八協会ができ、尺八指導で海外旅行をする日本人尺八奏者も増えています。中でも目立つのは京都の倉橋容堂さんと秩父の柿堺香さんです。彼らは1年のうち、2、3ヵ月海外(北南米、豪、欧、中国、台湾等)にいっています。

ロッキー マウンテン 尺八 サマー キャンプ

もう一つの記念的海外イベントは、あの最初のボルダーWSF1998で生まれた感動と熱意を将来に生かすべく創立された「ロッキーマウンテン尺八サマーキャンプ」の20回記念キャンプです。今年6月20日〜25日にボルダー市郊外のサンライズ・ランチで開催されます。講師陣は倉橋容堂、クリストファー遙盟、ライリー・リー、柿堺香、私と糸方の平岡洋子で、参加者の多くは北米からですが、日本人や中国人も来ています。35人前後の参加者(全くの初心者か師範格まで)はコロラドの田園的環境の中の高級合宿感覚で歴史、理論、技術等の講習会、グループレッスン、個人レッスンを受け、生徒発表に出演します。この「ロッキー尺八キャンプ」はコロラドのロッキー山脈東麓の施設を定例会場にしていますが、コロラド州だけで開催されているわけではありません。WSFとの縁を生かし、08年はシドニーで、12年は京都で提携開催しています。

このキャンプの一つの伝統に「Sunrise (no return) RO-buki(日の出「ロ」吹き)」があって、朝早く山に登って、地平線に向かって太陽が昇るまで筒音の「ロ」を吹きます。盆地の京都では東本願寺の境内でやらせていただきました。http://shakucamp.com

世界各地で続く尺八の進化

尺八の国際化が続きます。そもそも中国の楽器だった尺八が日本に伝わり、江戸時代に虚無僧の本曲と三曲合奏の分野が成立し、現在の古典尺八音楽となっています。それから20世紀に新日本音楽や現代邦楽も加わり少しインターナショナルな楽器になりました。

音楽は文化の一環で、文化だからこそ生きていて、その時代時代、場所場所で人々に影響され、進化し続けます。現代の情報化社会の中でその進化が世界各地で続いているし、内外でも互いに影響し合っています。今は、尺八の音の普遍的な魅力が外国でも広く楽しまれていて、新しい作品、新しい演奏形式等がどんどんできています。私が今住んでいるボルダーでも「Shakuhachi」は「Sushi」や「Tsunami」と同じように一般に通じる外来語になっています。

今、20年を記念するべきでしょうか?

最初の本当の国際尺八フェスティバルは1994年に故横山勝也師の国際尺八研修館が主催した「美星国際尺八音楽祭」で、そこからの四半世紀を記念したい気持ちが強いです。絶えることのない横山先生の熱意と努力がなければ20年前のボルダーそして今年のロンドン、ロッキー尺八キャンプは全てなかったに違いありません。

横山先生は1998ボルダーの前夜祭で泣きました。涙の演説の中で「こんな流儀を超えたフェスティバルは海外でなければできなかった」と言いました。横山先生をはじめ、尺八の国際化に大きく寄与した巨匠たち、演奏家、指導者、それから諸外国で尺八の新しい場、新しい世界を作り続ける尺八愛好家に感謝するべきでしょう。

今年の夏、コロラドやロンドンで会いましょう!

●ロッキーマウンテン尺八サマーキャンプ 参加費:$450(食事宿泊費別)初心者$250、奨学金あり、3月20日までの早割:$400

お問い合わせ:ShakuCamp@gmail.com

SU Blog Nomination

Greetings!

My name is Jeremy Reed and I am presently serving as the Chair of the Student Union of the Society for Ethnomusicology. I am writing to you, the student populous of SEM, on behalf of the Student Union to present a call for nominations (including self-nominations) for the position of Blog Editor.

The Student Union Blog (https://semstudentunion.wordpress.com/) is a fantastic forum for publishing student ideas and opinions in an easily accessible and year-round format. Beyond social media sites, the Student Union blog not only gives SEM members and ethnomusicologically-minded individuals a glimpse into Student Union activities, but also showcases ethnomusicology student ideas and conversations. Recent content series on the blog include: “Ethnomusicology and Parenthood”, “Snapshots from Fieldwork”, “In Discipline” [Ethnomusicology student-life around the globe]

We also plan on using the blog as a platform for a larger SEM Student Union project on fieldwork challenges and ethics.

This position is a great chance for those interested in editing/publishing. It also offers a fantastic opportunity for students to become involved in the Student Union and, by extension, the SEM at large. The responsibilities for the position are as follows:

Responsibilities of SU Blog Editor

·      Be proactive and self-directed

·      Recruit staff writers (on-going) and oversee deadlines

·      Work with writers to plan new series and contact potential contributors

·      Edit incoming posts

·      Organize blog schedule

·      Announce new blog posts on relevant social media pages

·      Delegate tasks to other blog members

o   Editing

o   Posting

o   Announcements

If you would like to nominate yourself or someone else, please submit the name, institutional affiliation, and email address of your nominee to studentunionnominations.sem@gmail.com
Thanks!

Jeremy Reed

PhD Student, Ethnomusicology
Chair, Society for Ethnomusicology Student Union

Indiana University – Bloomington

Thanks for everything!

This is my last post for this blog. Posting here has been an important source of hope for me. Being at times isolated from an ethnomusicological community in small towns in Spain where the discipline does not exist, writing for the blog made me feel connected. It pushed me to get in touch with colleagues here in Europe and to talk to them to propose them to collaborate with some of our projects. Although right now, as my period as collaborator of the SEM SU blog has finished, I am not sure whether or not the blog is the appropriate outlet to engage in conversation with, and to encourage dialogue among ethnomusicology students, I am definitely certain that writing for it does help feel the power of the discipline’s net. And I am not saying “net” meaning a trap where things get stuck to be fed to a giant spider, but as a safety net where we, ethnomusicology students and actual circus acrobats willingly walking through the abyss of future unstable employment, bounce into to get back walking the Ethnomusicology path. So, if you are a student and you do not find time to read the blog, or you find it to be an old fashion media, I encourage you to at least write for it, and get this wonderful net going.

  • Ana

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CALL FOR NOMINATIONS

Greetings!

My name is Jeremy Reed and I am presently serving as the Chair of the Student Union of the Society for Ethnomusicology. I am writing to you, the student populous of SEM, on behalf of the Student Union to present a call for nominations (including self-nominations) for the Executive Committee positions of Vice-Chair and Treasurer/Secretary. These positions offer a fantastic opportunity for students to become involved in the Student Union and, by extension, the SEM at large. The responsibilities for each position are as follows:

Continue reading

Disciplinary Intervention for a Practice of Ethnomusicology

SEM’s “Disciplinary Intervention for a Practice of Ethnomusicology” statement was created by the SEM Council subcommittee and published on the SEM blog Sound Matters on May 5, 2017. The SEM Student Union Blog is proud to support the ideas and ideals of this statement. Blog editor Ana-María Alarcón-Jiménez has translated the document into Spanish, blog contributor Heidi Xiaorong Yuan has translated it into Chinese, and Nil Basdurak has completed a translation in Turkish. Please click the links below to find the original statement and the translations. Signatures are still welcome. The list of signers will be published in Sound Matters. We are anxious to include as many translations here in the blog as we can, so if you’d like to contribute with a translation, please send us an email (semsublog@gmail.com).

对于民族音乐学者实践的实施规范

Intervención disciplinaria para la práctica de la etnomusicología

Disciplinary Intervention for a Practice of Ethnomusicology

Disciplinary Intervention for a Practice of Ethnomusicology_Turkish_ Nil Basdurak

“Student Voices:” A Collaboration with the SEM Student News Bulletin

Introducción

(for the English version of this introduction go to Student News)

Para muchos de nosotros, el trabajo de campo es una de las partes más emocionantes del proceso de investigación etnomusicológico. Nos preparamos para el trabajo de campo por adelantado, encuadrándolo en propuestas de investigación, diseñando cuestionarios para diferentes tipos de entrevistas, aprendiendo idiomas, haciendo contactos preliminares, preparando viajes, y leyendo, escuchando y viendo material relevante. Sin embargo, estar en “el campo”, o “en el terreno”, como llamaremos a este espacio a lo largo de este post, casi siempre significa remodelar, reformular y adaptarse a las relaciones y circunstancias socio-musicales que encontramos, y de las cuales aprendemos poco a poco, en el día a día. ¿Cómo ha sido la experiencia de estudiantes de etnomusicología con este aspecto particular de la adaptación in situ y qué impacto ha tenido esto en su investigación?

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The Ten Tracks Project: #2

The Ten Tracks Project

The Ten Tracks Project is an invitation to both listen and visualize ethnomusicology students’ research projects. Limited to ten sound and/or audiovisual files, Ten Tracks Project participants are challenged to create a playlist to introduce their listeners into a glimpse of the sounds, performers, audiences, dances, and/or performing spaces that they are writing, thinking, and learning about.

  • Playlist author: Ana María Alarcón Jiménez
  • Where do you study? Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal
  • Fieldwork Location: Galicia, Northwestern Spain
  • Research title: Spatializing Galician Music at the International Festival of the Celtic World.
  • Why are these ten tracks on your list?

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Responding: Review of Ethnomusicology Pedagogy at the 61st SEM Annual Meeting

By Xiaorong Yuan (Heidi), Kent State University

As ethnomusicologists, we spend our professional time in the classroom or preparing to teach. However, what we teach, how we teach, and why we teach ethnomusicology to different levels of audiences and students has become an issue that needs to be discussed. In 2016, at the annual SEM meeting in Washington, D.C., several panels and papers had insightful discussions about pedagogy that ethnomusicologists use and address when they are teaching. This report selects three panels related to ethnomusicological pedagogy: the roundtable panel “Music Pedagogy for the 21st Century”, “Global to Local Music Outreach”, and “World Music Pedagogy Workshop”, which highlight the diverse possibility of teaching ethnomusicology in a variety of environments and methodologies.

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Introducing: Responding

Hello dear readers, this is Liza. Today I’m introducing the first entry in a new series called Responding, a space where ethnomusicology graduate students react to papers or panels they attended at Society for Ethnomusicology annual conferences. I love the energy and excitement generated at SEM conferences, and I imagined this series as a way to continue the rich, generative conversations we have over a few short days throughout the rest of the year. Here is our first contribution, by Heather Strohschein.

I can’t believe six months have already passed since SEM 2016. I’ve been going to SEM conferences since . . . oh jeez . . . it’s been over ten years . . . (trying not to think about how old I am). I haven’t made it to every single conference since my very first in 2005, but every time I go, I’m reenergized by the plethora of ideas, the multitudinous approaches to research, and the multisyllabic words I need to look up at the end of the day.

This year, Liza suggested writing about a specific paper or papers that really stood out. This is a great way to keep the ideas and inspiration of SEM fresh in our minds as well as keeping a conversation going regarding these ideas. I saw and heard some fantastic papers this year, but the one that got me thinking the most was presented by Trevor Reed from Columbia University on the first day of the conference. His paper was titled “On the Generativity of Letting Culture Die.” No colon! I was immediately intrigued.

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