Mapping Historical Ethnomusicology

I recently learned that my paper on theory and method in historical ethnomusicology has been accepted for the upcoming meeting of the international organization Society for Ethnomusicology, which will be held at UCLA in November, 2010. Below is the abstract for that paper:

Mapping Historical Ethnomusicology: Definitions and Debates

Since the turn of the twenty-first century, historical ethnomusicology has been identified by several scholars as an emerging subfield of ethnomusicology. An active Historical Ethnomusicology Special Interest Group has developed within the Society for Ethnomusicology, yet an array of contradictory positions have also been advanced regarding the extent to which all ethnomusicological scholarship might be seen as “historical” and whether such a specialized subfield as historical ethnomusicology should even exist. How might historical ethnomusicology be meaningfully defined in relation to ethnomusicology proper, and what arguments serve as the foundations for various positions on such a question? What kinds of ethical and epistemological issues are encountered in historical studies of diverse musical traditions that differ from that of fieldwork on contemporary musical practices? In terms of research methodology, what kinds of data collection and analytical strategies are unique to historical studies; and in terms of theory, what might historical ethnomusicologists learn from recent debates in historical sociology, cultural history, philosophy of history, and related fields? Such questions will be considered in relation to the author’s own research in several nations as well as three recent doctoral dissertations on historical topics for which the author served as either supervisor or committee member. The outcome of this discussion will be a conceptual mapping of the intellectual antecedents of historical ethnomusicology, as well as a critical interrogation of some possibilities for the future of this developing field.

The above paper extends further on ideas developed in a paper entitled "Whither Hypermusicology: Ethical and Epistemological Issues in Historical Ethnomusicology" that I gave in March 2010 at another international conference in Finland: Musicology in the 3rd Millennium. The abstracts for that conference can be obtained HERE.

At the conference in UCLA, I will also be leading a meeting of the society's Historical Ethnomusicology special interest group.

1 comment:

WKawakami said...

Historical ethnomusicology has an important role in possibly an neglected area in ethnomusicology. Often ethnomusicologist observe current trends in music in different culture. As Western music has evolved over the centuries, a void in the historical evolution of music in other cultures needs to be explored to have a comprehensive understanding of music in those cultures.