The Music, Language, and Culture Workshop

February 2, 2015
by wdbuckingham

February 5 – Daniel Gough

Please join us on Thursday, February 5 at 4:30pm, (Goodspeed 205) for our third workshop of the Winter Quarter.

We will discuss  Daniel Gough‘s chapter, “Music and Access in São Paulo’s Cultural Policy Worlds.”Ameera Nimjee will serve as discussant for the workshop session. In order to make our discussion most productive, participants are encouraged to read the chapter in advance. (Check your email for the password and link or email

January 29, 2015
by wdbuckingham

January 29 – Marion MacLeod

Please join us on Thursday, January 29 at 4:30pm, (Goodspeed 205) for our second workshop of the Winter Quarter.

We will discuss  Marion MacLeod‘s paper, “Risk and Reward: Alcohol and Irony in Acadie.” Laura Turner will serve as discussant for the workshop session. In order to make our discussion most productive, participants are encouraged to read the chapter in advance. (Check your email for the password and link or email

January 22, 2015
by wdbuckingham

January 22, 2015: Michael O’Toole at EthNoise!

Michael O’Toole will read his paper, “‘Gedanken sind frei’ to ‘No Pegida’: Music In, With, and Against the Pegida Demonstrations in Germany,” followed by discussion. As always, EthNoise! meets Thursdays at 4:30pm in Goodspeed Hall, room 205. Please find Michael’s abstract below.

Beginning in October 2014, the recently founded organization known as Pegida (“Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West”), has held weekly demonstrations every Monday in Dresden, inspiring similar demonstrations and counter-demonstrations in other cities across Germany. Motivated by fear of an “Islamization” of Germany and the country’s growing efforts to address a recent surge in refugees and asylum seekers, the Pegida demonstrations have grown from a few hundred participants in October to approximately 25,000 at the most recent demo on January 12. In this presentation, I will discuss the variety of ways in which music has played a role in the nation-wide debate sparked by the Pegida demonstrations. Drawing on examples from social media, I will consider the role of music, sound, and silence within the demonstrations themselves, as well as consider several examples of music as a medium for supporting, protesting, or satirizing the Pegida movement and its significance. 

January 13, 2015
by wdbuckingham

EthNoise! Winter 2015 Schedule

Winter 2015 Schedule

January 22: Michael O’Toole – “‘Everyone Longed for Music’: Narratives of Music, Memory, and Migration in Post-Reunification Germany”

January 29: Marion MacLeod – “Risk and Reward: Alcohol and Irony in Acadie”

February 5:  Daniel Gough – “Music and Access in São Paulo’s Cultural Policy Worlds”

February 19: Peter Manuel – “World Music and Activism Since the End of History (sic)”

February 26: Will Faber – “Acid Diversions: Race, Memory, and Mediation on the UK Dancefloor”

March 5: Regula Qureshi

March 19: Monica Hairston O’Connell


Unless otherwise noted, all workshop meetings are on Thursdays from 4:30-6pm in Room 205, Goodspeed Hall, University of Chicago campus.

December 4, 2014
by nchana

Thursday, December 11 – Genevieve Dempsey

Please join us for our final meeting of the Autumn Quarter. This Thursday, we’re excited to welcome our own Genevieve Dempsey for a presentation entitled  “The Sacred Sound of Congado: A Revival of Afro-Brazilian Religiosity” (Please see below for Genevieve’s abstract).

As always, we will meet from 4:30-6:00pm in Goodspeed 205. We look very much forward to seeing you!


This presentation explores how Afro-Brazilians involved in congado, a traditional music of popular Catholic religiosity, become empowered through sacred song. By sounding congado they succeed in expressing their faith to Nossa Senhora do Rosário (Our Lady of the Rosary), remembering the past, and revitalizing a tradition that speaks to their identity as Afro-Brazilians. To what extent do musical participants respond to social and racial injustices with dancing, singing, and drumming so as to ensure their physical and mental survival? My work investigates the ways in which congadeiros use music as an instrument for voicing faith and creating dignity.



November 17, 2014
by nchana

Thursday, November 20 – Thomas Hilder

Please join us for our penultimate meeting of the Autumn Quarter. This Thursday, we’re excited to welcome Thomas Hilder for a presentation entitled  “Sámi Musical Performance, Indigeneity, Cosmopolitanism.” (Please see below for Thomas’ abstract and bio).

As always, we will meet from 4:30-6:00pm in Goodspeed 205. We look very much forward to seeing you!


My paper explores the politics of cosmopolitanism in musical performance of the Sámi of northern Europe. Through a post-WWII political and cultural movement, the Sámi have highlighted their history of Christianisation, land dispossession and cultural assimilation, whilst working towards Sámi political self-determination within and across the Nordic states and Russian Kola Peninsula. Participation by Sámi activists, academics and artists at international indigenous meetings since the 1960s not only helped strengthen articulations of indigeneity at home, but also led to the Sámi playing an important role in campaigning for global indigenous rights (Minde 2008, 1996). Sámi musical performance, often drawing on the distinct unaccompanied vocal practice of joik, has strengthened political articulations, assisted wider cultural revival, as well as facilitated inter-indigenous cultural and political exchange.

Based on multi-sited ethnographic research, I will explore the challenges, potentials and contradictions of Sámi musical cosmopolitanism. Firstly, I investigate the participation by Sámi joikers at international indigenous meetings and the impact of these inter-indigenous encounters on Sámi musical performance. I then analyse the Sámi singer Mari Boine to unearth the ways in which aesthetic and political indigenous solidarity has been articulated. Finally, I examine the role of the Riddu Riđđu Indigenous Peoples’ Festival in forging a global indigenous network. By drawing on political and postcolonial theory (Ivison, Patton & Sanders 2000), and the literature of cosmopolitanism (Delanty 2009; Forte 2010; Feld 2012) I ask: how might Sámi musical performance propose alternative models for transnational collaboration and geo-political organisation?


Thomas Hilder is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for World Music, University of Hildesheim, after having completed his PhD in ethnomusicology at Royal Holloway, University of London in 2010. His main research area is the popular music of the Sámi, of northern Europe, with a particular interest in postcolonialism, digital media and transnationalism. He is author of the forthcoming monograph Sámi Musical Performance and the Politics of Indigeneity in Northern Europe (Rowman and Littlefield), and is co-editor of the book projects Music, Indigeneity, Digital Media and Music and Cultural Memory in Post-1989 Europe: Sounding Contested Past(s). In addition, he teaches courses on Nordic music, music and politics, and music and gender at the University of Hildesheim and Humboldt University, Berlin, he co-organises the annual doctoral workshop in ethnomusicology at the Center for World Music, and co-runs the Berlin ethnomusicology research group BEAM.

November 2, 2014
by nchana

Thursday, November 6 – SEM Dry Runs (Part 2)

Please join us for the second of two workshops in which students will present their conference papers in preparation for the Society for Ethnomusicology conference. This Thursday, we’re excited to hear Meredith Aska McBride, and Michael O’Toole. (Please see the abstracts below).

As always, we will meet from 4:30-6:00pm in Goodspeed 205. We look very much forward to seeing you!


Single Moms and Tiger Moms: the Politics of Parenting in Chicago’s Music Education Programs (Meredith Aska McBride)

This presentation explores the contested politics of parenting in Chicago’s music education programs. I examine two competing, and equally imagined, parental models implied by different types of programs: the low-income “single mom” who is unable to meet her children’s educational and developmental needs, and the affluent, hyper-competitive “tiger mom” who uses music education as one weapon in an arsenal of intensive parenting tools. Both of these models are, of course, inaccurate in various ways and are gendered, raced, and classed. My paper explores how these models shape program design, funding, and curriculum and the ways in which parents, students, and program staff work within and against these parental specters. I further connect these politics of parenting to ongoing public and academic discourses of urban citizenship.


“My personal longing to tell this story”: Anatolian Music and Armenian Silence in Marc Sinan’s Hasretim: An Anatolian Journey (Michael O’Toole)

Since the early twentieth century, composers of western art music in Turkey and its diasporas have frequently drawn on the diverse musics of Anatolia as a source of musical material and inspiration. Composers in the early years of the Turkish Republic often regarded the diversity of Anatolian musics as a problem to be overcome in creating a national school of composition. More recently, several composers have more explicitly embraced the pluralism inherent in the cultural, linguistic, and musical diversity of Anatolia. In this paper, I discuss the work of Marc Sinan, a German composer of Armenian and Turkish descent, who has engaged in several ways with Anatolian musics as a source of creative material, compositional inspiration, and transnational collaboration. I focus in particular on Sinan’s 2010 multimedia composition Hasretim: An Anatolian Journey, which involves multiple forms of collaboration between musicians in Armenia, Germany, and Turkey. Drawing on discussions with the composer, fieldwork at the debut performance in Dresden, and analysis of the concert film released by ECM, I discuss Sinan’s strategies for representing the presence and absence of Armenian music and culture in Anatolia, and how Sinan relates Hasretim to his own experiences as a descendent of survivors of the Armenian Genocide. Situating my analysis in ethnomusicological discussions of music and trauma, I discuss the ways in which Sinan creatively reworked his own ethnographic recordings of Anatolian musicians, shaping the images, sounds, and narratives of Hasretim to represent Anatolia as a site of both musical abundance and musical loss.

October 27, 2014
by nchana

Thursday, October 30 – SEM Dry Runs (Part 1)

Please join us for the first of two workshops in which students will present their conference papers in preparation for the Society for Ethnomusicology conference. This Thursday, we’re excited to hear Will BuckinghamDaniel Gough, and Lindsay Wright. (Please see the abstracts below).

As always, we will meet from 4:30-6:00pm in Goodspeed 205. We look very much forward to seeing you!


With “Drums Beating and Colors Flying”: Race and the Portuguese in Mid-Nineteenth Century New Orleans (William Buckingham)

Ethnographic studies of processional traditions have explored the power of musical bodies moving through urban spaces to articulate identity and ideology. This paper explores these issues and contributes to an understanding of the mutability of such processes through its diachronic historical scope. Drawing on conventional historical methods with an ethnomusicologist’s attunement to relationships of space, music, and politics, I explore the heretofore unexcavated musical history of the Portuguese immigrant community in nineteenth century New Orleans. Contracted by labor recruiters to work on sugar plantations in the 1840s, by mid-century Louisiana’s Portuguese immigrants rapidly rejected their interstitial and precarious racial categorization and associations with plantation labor as they abandoned the sugar parishes and migrated to New Orleans. They established benevolent societies which staged extravagant ritual processions through the streets of New Orleans, accompanied by military fife and drum bands and brass bands. Through these performances, adapted from the dominant culture while articulating both a Portuguese character and a broader white immigrant identity, Portuguese New Orleanians were able claim their own space in the city and achieve inclusion in the dominant white racial category. Following the revolutionary upheavals of the Civil War in New Orleans, these musical performances of identity and belonging, boosted by a second wave of Portuguese immigration in the 1870s, continued to be deployed to assert white privilege, now as a weapon in the violent backlash to Reconstruction-era politics and assertions of freedom and dignity by New Orleanians of color.


Music Producers in São Paulo’s Cultural Policy Worlds (Daniel Gough)

This paper examines the role of a specific type of musical agent—the producer—within São Paulo’s institutionally mediated music scene.  Drawing upon research in policy anthropology, I argue that cultural policy practices have created new sets of relations in São Paulo’s music scene.  I connect the emergence of free-lance producers to the specialization of policy instruments and bureaucratic procedures in São Paulo’s cultural infrastructure.  In this paper, I will present a brief overview of the various channels through which musical performance is institutionally mediated in contemporary São Paulo before describing how contemporary cultural policies influence the job description(s) of the such producers.  In particular, I explore how the cultural edital, or proposal writing process, has become the defining policy procedure in São Paulo’s music scene, and the implications of these new kinds of technical knowledge for musicians and musical production.  I draw upon participant observation in cultural policy training seminars as well as interviews with musicians and professionals in these areas in order to describe how musical labor has shifted as a result of these policy instruments.  The concluding section of this paper will examine some of the consequences of these policy trends for musical life in the city.


“No accident of birth”: Suzuki Pedagogy and the Politics of Talent in a Northern Virginia Violin Studio (Lindsay Wright)

The music pedagogy developed by Japanese violinist Shin’ichi Suzuki has gained increasing prominence amongst American families since his first influential visit to the States in 1964. One of the most contentious aspects of Suzuki’s philosophy is evidenced by the first sentence of his book on music education: “Talent is no accident of birth.” In a country where perceptions of exceptional ability still adhere to Enlightenment and Romantic conceptions of the natural genius, the ways children are taught music—especially when they encounter setbacks—often fall back on assumptions about inherent ability. Regardless of current scientific debates about relative levels of inborn musicality, beliefs about talent powerfully influence how persistently students seek to achieve such perceived musical potential. Drawing upon fieldwork with a prominent American Suzuki teacher and the exceptionally proficient students in her studio, this paper explores how perceptions of talent are altered and negotiated as students develop their musical abilities. I argue that perceived talent is a privilege that can be gained by families with the means to acquire the educational resources to affirm and foster it. Furthermore, I seek to tie such perceptions to a larger discourse about talent in American music education: how does the privilege of appearing naturally talented gain students other privileges? The reasons children take music lessons are manifold and reflective of shifting trends in parenting philosophies and educational values; using Suzuki violin as a telling example, this paper investigates the oft-overlooked place of perceived talent within this discourse.

October 17, 2014
by nchana

Thursday, October 23 – Rehanna Kheshgi

Please join us on Thursday, October 23 at 4:30pm, (Goodspeed 205) for our second workshop of the Autumn Quarter.


Rehanna Kheshgi, doctoral candidate in ethnomusicology, will present an overview of the first chapter of her dissertation, “Kasi Jun: Intimate Encounters with the Crescent Moon,” which focuses on intimacy and youth in rural Assam through music and dance performances associated with the springtime bihu festival. Laura Ring, anthropologist and author of Zenana: Everyday Peace in a Karachi Apartment Building (2006) will serve as discussant for the workshop session. In order to make our discussion most productive, participants are encouraged to read the chapter in advance. (Check your email for the password and link).

September 26, 2014
by nchana

Thursday, October 9 – Beverley Diamond

Please join us on Thursday, October 9 at 4:30pm, (Goodspeed 205) for our first workshop of the Autumn Quarter.

We are excited to welcome renowned ethnomusicologist Beverley Diamond for a question and answer session.

Please note that Beverley Diamond will also be giving a formal presentation, Taking Aesthetic Action: Canada’s Indian Residential Schools, at the Music Colloquium Series on Friday, October 10 at 3:30pm.


Beverley Diamond (B.Mus, M.A. Ph.D. University of Toronto) is a Canadian ethnomusicologist who assumed the Canada Research Chair in Traditional Music at Memorial University in 2002. Before arriving in St. John’s she held full-time teaching positions at McGill, Queen’s, and York Universities, as well as visiting professorships at the University of Toronto and Harvard University. At Memorial University, she established the Research Centre for Music, Media and Place (MMaP) to serve as a liaison between university and communities on research projects of mutual interest. MMaP publishes in a variety of print and audio-visual media, including an archival CD series “Back on Track.”

Since the early 1970s, she has worked extensively in Inuit and First Nations communities in the Northwest Territories, Labrador, Quebec, and Ontario. Since 1999, she has done research in Sami communities in Norway and Finland. Her work has explored the relationship of music to issues of cultural identity (relating to such diverse subjects as women’s expressive cultures, musical instruments as cultural metaphor, and indigenous popular music), indigenous modernity issues (cultural property, technological change) and the role of the arts in reconciliation. Her publications include the books Native American Music in Eastern North America (2008, commissioned by Oxford University Press for their Global Music series, and Visions of Sound:Musical Instruments of First Nations Communities in Northeastern America (co-authored with M. Sam Cronk and F. von Rosen; University of Chicago Press, 1994), as well as several co-edited anthologies: Post-Colonial Distances. Popular Music in Canada and Australia(Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007); Aboriginal Music in Contemporary Canada. Echoes and Exchanges (McGill-Queen’s.University Press, 2012) She also works on issues of historiography, particularly as they relate to Canadian cultural diversity, co-editing Canadian Music: Issues of Hegemony and Identity, (Canadian Scholars Press, 1994) and serving as editorial advisor for Canada for the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. With Finnish ethnomusicologist, Dr. Pirkko Moisala, she co-edited Music and Gender (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000). Dr. Diamond’s most recent SSHRC-funded research has concerned the transnational circulation of indigenous music, cultural property, and the social construction of meaning in relation to changing technologies. During her 2012-13 Leave, she is finishing a book on the social history of audio recording in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Dr. Beverley Diamond was named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada(RSC), considered to be the highest academic honour in Canada. The society calls Dr. Diamond “a guiding voice in contemporary ethonomusicology in Canada” and “an inspiring mentor to more than 70 M.A. and Ph.D. students,” and credits her for developing cross-cultural perspectives on gendered musical practices. She received a Trudeau Fellowship (2009-12) and was the first recipient of the SOCAN Foundation/CUMS Award of Excellence for the Advancement of Research in Canadian Music. A Festschrift was published in her honour in 2010.

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