Music, Performance and Racial Imaginations
Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference
4-5 March 2005
Departments of Music, American Studies, and Performance Studies
New York University
Work among disciplines such as performance studies, dance studies, anthropology, ethnomusicology and musicology testify to the powerful resource that forms of expressive culture provide in creating a space for crafting, negotiating and resisting racialized subjectivities. Over the past decade, scholars writing about music and performance have expanded the ways they engage the issue of race and ethnicity in their work--moving away more essentialized, static conceptions to dealing with music’s dynamic role in marking aspects of racial and ethnic difference. This shift has resulted from the incorporation of changing formulations of race and ethnicity from outside of the disciplines of music as well as the experiences of researchers in the field.
Two recent edited collections marked the presence of these new concerns for race among music scholars: Born and Hesmondhalgh’s Western Music and Its Others (1999) and Bohlman and Radano’s Music and the Racial Imagination (2000). The essays in these collections reveal how music as a discourse and how discourse about music effect the racialization of Others without interrogating the simultaneous racialization of the Western Self. In their introduction, Bohlman and Radano challenge scholars of music and performance to examine how they themselves are complicit in perpetuating discursive forms of racism.
While many have begun to heed this critique, this conference seeks to further answer the call to examine this scholarly and disciplinary complicity while broadening the considerations of links between race, ethnicity and performance--not least of all by adding much needed concern for critical whiteness studies to the discussion. We seek to foster an interdisciplinary space for this debate and especially encourage those approaches that probe the intersections among music, performance and the racial imagination--“the shifting matrix of ideological constructions of difference associated with body type and color that have emerged as part of the discourse network of modernity” (Bohlman and Radano). We welcome proposals for papers, presentations and performance from graduate students, activists and practitioners that will further interdisciplinary dialogue examining race and ethnicity in any and all types of performance.
Some Possible Themes (in no particular order):
Music, Performance and Critical Whiteness Studies
Transnational aspects of ethnic identity
Pedagogies of music/performance and issues of race and ethnicity
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