Lecture Series

Lecture Series Logo 2016

The Canada Research Chair in Ethnomusicology, in conjunction with the School of Music and the Department of Folklore, inaugurated this interdisciplinary lecture series in 2002-2003. Distinguished scholars from the academic community are featured in a series of presentations regarding historical and contemporary musical practices. Members of the general public, as well as the university community, are cordially invited. The Music and Culture lecture series for 2016-2017 is grateful for financial support from the Office of the President at Memorial University. Lectures take place in the evenings in the MMaP Gallery on the second floor of the Arts and Culture Centre unless indicated otherwise. They are free and open to all!

The 2016-17 Lecture Series:

Wednesday, September 21, 2016 7:30 p.m.
Dr. Harald Kisiedu (International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation, Memorial University of Newfoundland)

"Like A Cry You Wanted to Answer": Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky and the Rise of Jazz Experimentalism in East Germany

This talk illuminates the rise of jazz experimentalism in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) with a focus on one of its major proponents: multi-reedist and improviser Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky. Petrowsky’s engagement with post-1950s jazz practices took place within the context of politico-aesthetic debates that were decisively shaped by the Cultural Cold War. Focusing on the conditions of production in a state socialist system, this talk will explore the difficulties Petrowsky and other jazz experimentalists faced under the ideological constraints imposed by GDR cultural policy makers during the height of the Cold War. This talk will also reconstruct the critical reception of post-war jazz in the GDR and discuss Petrowsky’s engagement with African American experimentalism during the 1960s.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 7:30 p.m.
Dr. Matthew Rahaim
(University of Minnesota)

Struck by the Arrow: Listening, Voice, and Ethical Virtue in North India

A rich cluster of texts, from 12th century sufi apologia to 20th century marketing materials, surrounds Indian vocal practice: cosmopolitan Islamicate models of musical healing, yogic descriptions of sonic liberation, Chisti prescriptions for spiritual listening, and nationalist desires for moral reform through music education. The power of vocal performance, then, is not merely a matter of notes, but of ethical dispositions (tenderness, patience, and many others.) Drawing on years of ethnography and vocal practice, this talk surveys some of the ways in which these cherished virtues are nurtured and contested through circuits of vocal action and active listening.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017 7:30 p.m.
Dr. Ian Sutherland (Memorial University of Newfoundland)

Of Conducting, Choirs and Executive Power: Aesthetic Reflexivity to Memories with Momentum

This talk rolls up key ideas that have developed across a number of studies looking at how the arts, primarily music, are being used in leadership development around the world. Working from an experiential learning foundation, the talk will discuss the role of aesthetic reflexivity, aesthetic workspaces and memories with momentum in situations where people learn with and through the arts. As an exemplary case study, the talk will revolve around extensive observational and interview data into choral conducting masterclasses and emergent insights into the aesthetics of power and powering.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 7:30 p.m.
Dr. Steven Friedson (University of North Texas)

The Music Box: Songs of Futility in a Time of Torture

Music deployed in the service of “enhanced interrogation techniques” in the putative “Global War on Terror” routinely subjected detainees to musical bombardment at high decibel levels over extended periods of time. Here musical experiences hold no agency—detainees don’t have a say in the matter. This lack of agency has resonance with my work on music ontologies of spirit possession in Africa, where those possessed claim not to be there at all. This talk brings these limit experiences, situated at the opposite ends of a continuum, into close proximity, revealing an ontological inversion. Instead of totally being-away as with spirit possession, detainees are totally there, unable to escape sensory overload of a magnitude we can barely imagine.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 7:30 p.m.
Dr. Katharine Young
(Independent Scholar)

Scrape, Brush, Flick: The Phenomenology of Sound

The audible world is at once episodic and pervasive, outside and inside the body, impalpable and felt in the bones. Each sense brings forth its own world and yet, as Maurice Merleau-Ponty points out, all the senses open out onto the same world. The senses are synaesthetic, each sense conducting us to the others; the world is intersensorial, each thing offering a different self to each sense. This resonant incommensurability of the senses gives perception its depth, its richness, its inexhaustibility. Drawing on her work on folklore and aesthetics, the anthropology of the senses, and phenomenology, this talk will examine the sensual experience of perception and sound.

Please click the images below to view the 2016-17 Lecture Series brochure: