“The Café and the Espectáculo: ‘Diasporic Cannibals,’ Collective Remembrance, and Musical Mate[realities] in Jewish Performance at the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA)“
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Please join us for the Ethnoise! workshop this Thursday, May 17th at 4:30, in Goodspeed Hall room 205. We are excited to welcome Dr. Gregory Savarimuthu, Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Anthropology at Kannur University in Kerala, India, as he presents:
Discussant: Kaley Mason, Assistant Professor of Music, University of Chicago
The term ‘aesthetics’ has been subjected to philosophical discourse since ancient times. It has been understood differently and its nature has been expounded differently by different scholars. In most discourses, the close association between nature and aesthetics has been obvious though there may be differences in the details of its manifestation. Since the tribal people have been known for their symbiotic relationship with nature in their traditions and culture, eco-aesthetics with reference to the tribal people has a special significance and relevance. The present paper looks into this dimension and analyses its implication in the modern society, particularly with reference to development.
Please join us for the Ethnoise! workshop this Thursday, May 10th at 4:30, in Goodspeed Hall room 205. We are excited to welcome our own Philip V. Bohlman, Mary Werkman Distinguished Service Professor of Music and the Humanities at the University of Chicago, as he presents:
This workshop session will break from our usual format in that we will circulate the paper in advance, and we strongly encourage everyone to read it generously since it will not be read out during the session. Ethnoise will be moving in this direction in the future in order to facilitate a deeper level of discussion which will benefit presenters and workshop participants alike. Please click on the following link to download the paper:
Dr. Bohlman will be joined by two graduate student discussants from the Department of Music:
Rehanna Kheshgi, PhD Student in Ethnomusicology, University of Chicago
Andy Greenwood, PhD Candidate in History and Theory of Music, University of Chicago
This presentation grows out of the John F. Larchet Memorial Lecture Dr. Bohlman delivered at University College Dublin on April 4th, in which he made a case for a more comprehensive music historiography of musical thought. In particular, and in the spirit of John Larchet, whom the talk commemorates, Bohlman followed the development of South Asian musical thought into Irish musical thought, both converging in the Irish and Bengali Enlightenments. The Larchet Lecture was also the final event of a daylong meeting of the Irish Musicological Society, devoted to questions of the meaning and survival of musical scholarship and pedagogy in an Ireland in financial crisis, which forms part of the political backstory for this presentation. The presentation engages in disciplinary domains spreading from ethnomusicology into historical musicology and music theory. As a result of the response, criticism, and discussion generated during our workshop, Bohlman plans to continue developing the ideas presented into a new paper commissioned for the 100th anniversary of musicology in Ireland.
Please join us for a joint workshop session sponsored in part by EthNoise!, The Arts & Politics of East Asia Workshop, and the Caribbean Studies Workshop this Thursday, April 26th at 4:30, in Goodspeed Hall, Room 205. Marvin Sterling, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Indiana University, Bloomington, will present:
On the Cultural Politics of Tradition:
“Domesticating” Dancehall Reggae in Contemporary Japan.
Michael Bourdaghs, Associate Professor of Modern Japanese Literature in EALC at UChicago, will be the discussant for the workshop.
For 60 years, the “sound system” has been the sonic heart of Jamaican dancehall culture. Sound systems are small groups of young men (and more rarely women) who play Jamaican music and banter in patois over high-powered audio systems before hundreds or thousands of attendees. In recent years, this subculture has reached international shores. In 1999, Japan-based Mighty Crown entered an otherwise all-Jamaican sound system competition in Brooklyn, New York, and to the surprise of many, won the event. Three years later, Junko Kudo, a dancer part of Japan’s burgeoning “reggae dance” scene, was similarly the only Japanese performer in Jamaica’s National Dancehall Queen Contest; she, too, won her event. Dancehall reggae has since become a sustained subcultural, and even in some measure, mainstream popular cultural phenomenon in Japan, attracting millions of fans and making the country one of the world’s most vital reggae markets. In this presentation, I trace the roots of Japanese reggae from the early 1970s until the present, focusing on the musical productive and performative strategies through which a distinctive “J-reggae” has come into being. I argue that these strategies significantly invoke discourses of the traditional that are deeply interlinked with those of modernity in Japan, a modernity shaped by the specter of Western domination that Japanese have long had to negotiate. I focus on the link between these discourses of the traditional and a contemporary ethos of cultural internationalism in recessionary Japan, in which many Japanese reggae practitioners imagine global southern countries like Jamaica as simultaneously signs of these artists’ cultural and sociopolitical cosmopolitanism, but also as tradition-bound and thus instructive symbols of Japan’s own potential rebirth.
Fernando Rios is Visiting Assistant Professor in Ethnomusicology at the University of Maryland, College Park, where in the fall term he will begin his appointment as Assistant Professor. His research, which is based on fieldwork and archival research conducted in Bolivia, Argentina and France, explores folkloric musical representations of Andean mestizo and indigenous expressive practices in relation to Bolivian nation-building projects and international artistic trends. His recent published work includes articles in Ethnomusicology Forum (“The Andean Conjunto, Bolivian Sikureada and the Folkloric Musical Representation Continuum,” 2012), Ethnomusicology (“Bolero Trios, Mestizo Panpipe Ensembles and Bolivia’s 1952 Revolution,” 2010) and Latin American Music Review (“La Flûte Indienne: The Early History of Andean Folkloric-Popular Music in France and its Impact on Nueva Canción,” 2008).
Please join us at the Ethnoise! workshop this Thursday, April 12th at 4:30, in Goodspeed Hall room 205. We will welcome Gregor Kokorz (Mellon Visiting Scholar at the University of Chicago) as he presents “Listening to Difference: Reflections on how to write a history of ethnomusicology”.
Abstract: The history of science continues to follow still too often an engrained yet highly problematic model of progress, and the history of ethnomusicology does not represent an exception. But what are the alternatives? My talk will focus on several 19th century discourses that contributed to the rise of ethnomusicology adopting a model of conflict centered on the question of difference. Offering a reading of ethnomusicology as a challenge to Western musical thought not only allows a different approach to the history of science, but enables also to interpret the ethnomusicological discourse as a truly modern one that contributes to the experience of destabilization in the era of modernity.
Dr. Gregor Kokorz holds a Ph.D. in musicology from the Karl-Franzens University, Graz, Austria with a doctoral thesis titled “In Search for Difference. Ethnomusicology in the Mirror of Modernity” (2008). He has been a member of the interdisciplinary research project “Modernity. Vienna and Central Europe around 1900” at the University of Graz and a research assistant at the Center for Austrian and Central European Studies at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, CA. Since 2011, he has been engaged in the research project “Music – Identity – Space” at the Austrian Academy of Science, working on a series of essays on music and national identities titled “Musical Space, Trieste around 1848.” Presently he is a Visiting Mellon Scholar at the University of Chicago. His research focuses particularly on the issues of modernism, the history of science, and cultural transfer.
Our Spring 2012 schedule for EthNoise! has been finalized and we are pleased to welcome a great group of presenters.
We look forward to seeing you there. As always, we will meet on Thursday afternoons at 4:30, in Goodspeed Hall, Room 205.
Announcing a special workshop co-sponsored by the Music History/Theory Workshop, the EthNoise! Ethnomusicology Workshop, the 18th/19th Century Cultures Workshop, and the Nicholson Center for British Studies. On February 21, @3:00pm at the Fulton Recital Hall, Professor Bennett Zon, from Durham University UK, will present his work on “Evolution and spiritual selection in Victorian musical culture.”
ABSTRACT: The history of religion and science has often been caricatured as strewn with mortal conflict. Early books on the topic, like John William Draper’s History of the Conflict between Religion and Science (1874) or Andrew Dickson White’s A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom (1896) did nothing to dispel this view. The battle between religion and science was, however, never as consistently divisive as these books might suggest, and during the Victorian period there was at times an amicable, albeit dynamic, relationship between the two. Like twins separated at birth, religion and science occasionally rediscovered one another in the booming culture of post-Darwinian Britain, to find abundant similarities and curiously engrossing differences. This is the story of such a relationship, exploring the influence of evolution within the science and religion of Victorian Britain, and then tracing its impact on England’s leading music philosopher, Joseph Goddard (1833–1911).
Because Goddard published regularly throughout most of the Victorian period his work provides a helpful glimpse into the development of Britain’s musicological mind. That mind was deeply immersed in contemporary scientific, religious and philosophical debates, not least as they relate to changes in evolutionary theory. Indeed, as evolutionary theory evolved, so too did musicology. Goddard’s philosophy of music reflects those changes very clearly, from his early days as a flag-waving Spencerian to his later, more circumspect time as a devout Darwinian. Like many other intellectuals of the time, however, Goddard fell sway to the Darwinian argument, abandoning neither his good Spencerian principles nor his fundamental belief in the spiritual nature of the universe. To the extent that Darwin failed to resolve his own religious conflict, he was similarly compromised. Darwin calls it his ‘muddle’, and it is that so-called muddle between scientific knowledge and religious belief, played out in vast swathes of Victorian intellectual culture, which one finds represented and resolved in Goddard’s philosophy of music.
This paper charts the history of Darwin’s muddle as emblematic of Victorian debates about religion and science, looking closely at the relationship of natural theology and the emerging science of evolution. It examines the resolution of that relationship into a theology consonant with evolution yet true to its religious roots, and then situates that theology broadly within Goddard’s philosophy of music.
Persons who require assistance to participate fully in this event should contact Andy Greenwood at email@example.com in advance.
Please join us for a special EthNoise! session cosponsored with the African Studies Workshop, as we welcome Dr. Kelly Askew (Associate Professor, Anthropology and Afroamerican and African Studies, University of Michigan). We will meet on Thursday, Feb. 9th, in Regenstein Library, Room 264, at 4:30 for her talk, “‘Poetry in Motion’: Ethnography vs. Cinematography in a Swahili Music Documentary.
Poetry in Motion: 100 Years of Zanzibar’s Nadi Ikhwan Safaa is a (2011) documentary film about the oldest taarab orchestra in the world: Zanzibar’s Nadi Ikhwan Safaa (“The True Brotherhood Club”). Taarab is a genre of sung Swahili poetry popular along the coasts and off lying islands of Kenya and Tanzania. The music of coastal East Africa is an aesthetic manifestation of the confluence of Indian Ocean dhow trade networks with caravan trade networks from central and southern Africa for it was at the East African coast and through Swahili middlemen that these two trading systems would meet. In taarab performance, therefore, one hears the rhythms of local ngoma dances, South Asian vocal timbre, and Arabian instrumentation. Swahili, a Bantu language with significant Arabic vocabulary, ties these together into an urban genre that varies in musical inflection up and down the coast as do the dialects that mark Mombasa Swahili as distinct from Zanzibari Swahili. In this presentation, I wish to share and invite discussion about the challenges we faced in trying to escape from the formulaic genre that “African music documentary” has become.
The “African music documentary” genre was created around West and South African musical forms. Among other things, it entails cutting the visual to a driving beat. But what does one do when the musical form, though “African,” does not have a beat as driving as expected? How does one maintain visual interest? How does one accommodate Western expectations about African music when the selected musical form (a variety of orchestral music) is not easily identifiable as “African”? How do you elicit audience interest in a genre for which conventional performance practice is the affectation of studied disinterest? And how do you deal with the problem we faced of centering the film on a single event—the 100th anniversary concert—and having that event go catastrophically badly? Do you stick true to “documentary value” whatever the damage to the film’s original objectives?
I welcome this opportunity to share these dilemmas from the filming and post-production processes of Poetry in Motion, showing a few selected clips from the film and interspersing them with discussion about the challenges they entailed. I expect this to lead us into a more general discussion about generic constraints in film production and the use of editorial—not to mention artistic—license in reconciling documentary value with cinematic value.
Please join us at the Ethnoise! workshop this Thursday, February 2nd at 4:30, in Goodspeed Hall room 205. We will welcome Rachel Adelstein (PhD Candidate, U Chicago, Ethnomusicology) as she presents “Kol Isha: Jewish Women’s Voices In Prayer And Song”
Abstract: This presentation traces the paths by which women’s singing voices found their way into the contemporary non-Orthodox synagogue. I address the sources of traditional Jewish cultural objections to women singing in public, many of which are still in force in traditional societies today. I draw on historical sources to demonstrate how women gradually claimed space and presence in public sonic spaces so that their eventual emergence as cantors occurred with relatively little resistance. I discuss the physical challenges that women liturgical singers faced upon encountering a beloved repertoire composed specifically for the male voice, and I draw on ethnographic research to show some of the ways that women have adapted to the vocal challenges of the contemporary cantorate.
Rachel Adelstein, PhD candidate in Ethnomusicology at the University of Chicago, holds a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, where she wrote her thesis on music as a carrier of Holocaust memory. Her current research interests include contemporary Jewish liturgical music, American vernacular music, and issues of gender and women’s agency. In her spare time, she is a shape-note singer and a Scottish country dancer, and has recently taken up the gaohu (the soprano Chinese violin).
We look forward to seeing you there.
Photos: Hazzan Arlyne Unger (top) and performing khaznte Bas Sheva in the film Catskill Honeymoon (bottom)