The Music, Language, and Culture Workshop

EthNoise! Spring 2018


Please find below the schedule for EthNoise! for the spring quarter. We will meet on Thursdays at the customary location, in Goodspeed 205, with a time change:  from 5:00-6:20pm.


Week 4 (4/19) Dr. Melissa Bilal (Dumanian Visiting Professor in Armenian Studies in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations)

An Armenian Ethnomusicologist’s Burden: What do I hear in the Captivated Voices of Russian Armenian POWs in WWI German Camps?”

During WWI, the initially secret Royal Prussian Phonographic Commission (Königlich-Preußische Phonographische Kommission) made recordings from the prisoners of war held in various different camps across German territories. Among the interns detained in these camps were Russian Armenian soldiers. In my talk, I will present samples of songs and speech in Armenian, Georgian, and Turkish captured a century ago from these men by the use of the phonograph and gramophone technologies. I will also share the pieces of information we have on the lives of these soldiers.  My talk will contextualize these recording sessions held in POW camps within the history of wartime anthropology. It will critically address the large-scale imperial, colonial, and racialized knowledge production endeavor by musicologists, linguists, ethnographers, and physical anthropologists that regarded the Prussian and Austro-Hungarian internment camps as “laboratories.” While questioning the conditions under which captives were turned into research subjects, it will interpret the repertoire through which the Armenian soldiers expressed themselves in the specific historical moment of 1916-1918. I will argue that the written documents and the voices passed onto us by the phonographic commission challenge the idea of an “archive” and/or a “museum” that the commission originally intended to put together.


Week 5 (special Tuesday session with Center for Jewish Studies: 4/24) Eduard Freudmann (Musician)

Performing the Jewish Archive”

Please see the following links for related information, including that pertaining to a performance on April 23rd.


Week 6 (5/3): Dr. Alisha Jones (Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology, Indiana University)

“I Am Delivert!”: Vocalizing Black Men’s Testimonies of Deliverance from Homsexuality in Pentecostal Worship

In 1995, Grammy Award nominated gospel vocalist Pastor Daryl Coley consented to an interview with Gospel Today’s editor Teresa Hairston for an article entitled, “The California-born gospel singer overcoming homosexuality and diabetes.” It is the earliest music industry account of a gospel vocalist claiming to no longer be homosexual through spiritual “deliverance.” Within historically Black Pentecostal churches that showcase gospel musicians, “deliverance” traditionally refers to a release from physical ailments and perceived spiritual afflictions such as diabetes or homosexuality.  While deliverance characterizes various types of healing through spiritual work, many Black gospel music fans deploy the term in a gendered and sexualized manner, referring to a man’s struggle to resist homosexuality. Moreover, the notion of deliverance is promoted through men’s testimonies about becoming heterosexual with what they believe is God’s help. Male vocalists’ overrepresentation in these public accounts of spiritual “healing” from homosexuality reinscribe the stereotype within historically Black Pentecostal churches that to be involved in vocal music ministry is a queering act . Conversely, women’s deliverance narratives are unlikely to be distributed due in part to the socio-cultural fixation on protecting established constructions of Black masculinity.

Expanding upon my 2016 research about the perceptions of Black male vocal participation as queer in Are All the Choir Directors Gay?: Black Men’s Sexuality and Identity in Gospel Performance, this talk explores the sonic qualities of Black men’s public renouncement of their gay identity through deliverance testimonies. In a culture where homosexuals are often regulated to a “don’t ask, don’t tell” social agreement, the testimonies of men delivered from homosexuality conform to what feminist writer Adrienne Rich called compulsory heterosexuality (1960). While deploying ethnomusicological, phonological, linguistic, critical race, and gender studies analysis, Dr. Jones examines these delivered believers’ coded and textured performances of orality in Pentecostal worship: virtuosic singing, “speaking in other tongues,” preaching, and preaching-singing. Educing from musician’s narratives and recordings since Pastor Daryl Coley’s self-disclosure, this talk observes the extent to which their accounts prompt (non)-verbal communication about what constitutes legitimate and sustained deliverance.


Week 7 (5/10): Dr. Michelle Stefano (Folklife Specialist, American Folklife Center)

“The American Folklife Center and Public Folklore”


Week 8 (5/17): Laura Turner (Ph.d. candidate, Music) 

“Intimate Icons, Sacrosanct Places: Mount Airy, Surry County and the Construction of an Old-Time Epicenter” (dissertation chapter)


Week 9 (5/24): Lindsay Wright (Ph.D. candidate, Music)

“Teaching Talent: The Pedagogies of Shinichi Suzuki and Mark O’Connor” (dissertation chapter)


Week 10 (5/31): Ameera Nimjee (Ph.D. candidate, Music)

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