Thursday, February 14, 2019

Haitian-Immigrant Artists and the Political Aesthetic of Migration in Brazil’s Polarized 2018 Presidential Campaign

By Caetano Maschio Santos (Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul)


*This article also appears in SEM Student News 14.2, Fall/Winter 2018.

I write during the first round of presidential elections in Brazil, between candidates Jair Bolsonaro and Fernando Haddad. Bolsonaro, a congressman with a military background and openly racist, chauvinist, conservative, and xenophobic opinions, runs as a member of the right-winged Social Liberal Party (PSL).[1] Backed by the army, landowners, Evangelical church leaders, and businessmen, Bolsonaro leads most public opinion polls, incarnating the idea of a national savior. Haddad, ex-mayor of São Paulo and Education Minister, runs as a member of the leftist Workers Party (PT).[2] Although widely credited with raising living standards for the poorest in the country and projecting Brazil onto an international political and economic stage, the party is also associated with corruption scandals and Brazil’s present economic and political crisis.[3]

Sunday, February 3, 2019

What's in a Name? New Questions Regarding Ethnomusicology of the Political

By Jon Bullock (University of Chicago)


*This article also appears in SEM Student News 14.2, Fall/Winter 2018.

This autumn marks twenty-five years since the publication of ethnomusicologist Philip Bohlman’s (1993) “Musicology As a Political Act,” an essay in which he asserted that musicology had entered a period of political crisis owing to its insistence on its own apolitical status (419). Today, even Bohlman’s opening anecdote of sitting in a bar watching MTV betrays the age of the article—after all, the MTV of 1993 is long gone, with reality television shows having replaced much of the music video programming that dominated the station’s air time throughout most of the 90s and early 2000s. But for better or for worse, Bohlman’s description of a musicology that deliberately avoided the political implications of its own discourse also now feels quaint. Even Georgina Born’s 2010 addition to Bohlman’s theories, in which she urged (ethno)musicologists to reconsider what music is and what counts as music to be studied (208–9), now seems to be common practice as ethnomusicologists increasingly take into account popular musics and discourses drawn from black, queer, and indigenous studies, among other fields. And if the field itself has changed since 1993, so has the world around us. Today, not being political seems as much a political act as any.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Call for Submissions: SEMSN 15.1

Dear Colleagues,

This is the first call for submissions for the Spring/Summer 2019 issue of SEM Student News. This new issue, vol. 15, no. 1 (Spring/Summer 2019), will focus on a theme of Music and Movement with particular attention to theoretical approaches to embodiment and dance (choreomusicology). We are seeking article submissions on any topic but will give preference to those that fit within our theme’s area of discussion. Likewise, we will consider submissions from both students and working scholars alike, and encourage authors to submit pieces in a variety of media.

We are also accepting early submissions for vol. 15, no. 2 (Fall/Winter 2019), which will focus on a theme of Music and Affect with special attention to intersections between affect, embodiment, and mindfulness/meditation.

Submissions may be written, photographic, or multimedia (written with visual, audio, and/or video components). We particularly solicit audio/visual contributions to correspond with the theme for this issue. We are currently accepting submissions for the following categories:
  • Original photography or artwork related to the issue’s theme [with attendant permissions and appropriately publishable captions]
  • Student submissions (c. 200–250 words) for our “Thoughts from the Field” column [relating students' personal perspectives and experiences in the field to the issue's main theme; please contact the editor at semstudentnews@gmail.com for more specific details]
  • Student articles (c. 500–1500 words) [related or unrelated to the theme of the issue]
  • Student response column (c. 500–1500 words) [responding to a previous issue of SEM Student News or something else in the world of ethnomusicology today]
  • Professional submissions:
    1. For our “Dear SEM” column (c. 250 words) [related to the issue’s theme and responding to the following prompt: “Music studies and dance studies have historically been distinct disciplines, yet music-making and dancing are often not separate and distinct practices. How have you approached scholarship, performance, and pedagogy on the interrelationship between music-making and dancing? How might we holistically study and teach these practices?”
    2. Individual articles (c. 500–1000 words) [related or unrelated to the issue’s theme, and speaking toward student interests, concerns, experiences, opportunities, etc.]
If you would like to submit a piece for either issue, please contact the editor at semstudentnews@gmail.com. We also welcome any other ideas, comments, and questions. Submissions should follow Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition (author-date). Files should be submitted in .docx (text), .jpg (photography and images), .mp3 or .flac (audio), and .mp4 (video) formats no later than April 1, 2019 (for 15.1 submissions; 15.2 submissions are also welcome at any time, with a final deadline TBD). Be sure to include your contact information and university affiliation in your email. Please feel free to share this call widely.

Best regards,

Eugenia Siegel Conte, Incoming Editor
Davin Vidigal Rosenberg, Outgoing Editor