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Showing posts from March, 2019

The Politics of Personalism

By Brendan Kibbee (City University of New York)
*This article also appears in SEM Student News 14.2, Fall/Winter 2018.

As we engage with the world as scholars concerned with music and its political effects, it is important that we not only consider what we think and say, but just as importantly, who we engage and express ourselves with, and how we think and express ourselves with others. Doing so might enable us to establish new repertoires of social action in our personal and professional lives and new ways of creating knowledge in the world. As I have been processing my experiences doing fieldwork in a crowded, working-class neighborhood in Dakar, Senegal, over the past few years, and as I have begun to think about what I hope to achieve with my work, I have become increasingly drawn to an idea of “personalism” as it manifests in the postcolonial city.

Letter from the Editor (Volume 14, Number 2)

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

This issue of SEM Student News marks my penultimate as editor, and I am extremely grateful to have worked with SEMSN over the past six (almost seven!) years. Not all of this has involved editing, though editing has been the most meaningful to me for several reasons: I get to read and re-read the writing of my colleagues, open myself to their ways of thinking about and perceiving musicking in our lives, communicate and exchange ideas with them, and present their hard work to our readers in a way that (I hope) does it justice. This has never been an easy process and there are many challenges with which I regularly struggle, including balancing my time and energy between SEMSN, graduate school, and life in general; possessing (or not) knowledge and experience fit for evaluating such a diverse array of topics; and the ever-pervasive self-doubt that has plagued me throughout my higher education. But there is one particu…

Final Call for Submissions: SEMSN 15.1 [Deadline Extended]

Dear Colleagues,

This is the final 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…

What Can One Learn in Gamelan Ensemble in One Semester? A Performative Ethnography of a World Music Ensemble

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By Wangcaixuan (Rosa) Zhang (University of Pittsburgh)
*This article also appears in SEM Student News 14.2, Fall/Winter 2018.

The 1950s marked the establishment of ethnomusicology as a discipline in United States universities. In conjunction with Mantle Hood’s concept of “bi-musicality,” world music ensembles (WMEs) became part of ethnomusicology university programs to allow students to explore the music of the “Other.” Although these ensembles promote a decolonized attitude[1] toward understanding the “Other,” constrained within a Western university setting, they end up encouraging students to approach the “Other” with a colonized gaze. Through a performative ethnography[2] as an ensemble member, performer, and researcher in the Sundanese gamelan ensemble at the University of Pittsburgh in both Fall 2017 and Spring 2018, this article re-visits how we teach WMEs and questions what representations of the “Other” we are passing on to our students. This, I argue, serves as a good starti…