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.

All lectures are livestreamed on our Youtube channel.

The Music and Culture lecture series for 2017-2018 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 2017-2018 Lecture Series:

Ecological Performativity: A Creative Research Practice

Dr. Teresa Connors (International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation, MUN)

Thursday, September 21, 2017 (7:30 P.M.)

Situated in creative-research, this talk tracks the development and realization of a series of non-linear audiovisual installations. These works explore the relationship of environment, material, and process, and are derived from an intensive data gathering procedure and immersion within their respective environments. The result is a multimodal line of inquiry that affords an orientation into a creative practice I have come to term “ecological performativity.” This is a mode of practice that considers—in act and thought—the context, formative creative process, and resulting artifacts as a responsive embodiment of larger structures of phenomena. The outcome is a creative thinking-making procedure that includes ideas on the subjective experiences of time, place, and the entangled agency of human and nonhuman bodies.


The Political Economy of Music and Sound

Dr. Jocelyne Guilbault (University of California, Berkeley)

Tuesday, October 3, 2017 (7:30 P.M.)

In a project joining ethnomusicology, tourism studies, and sound studies, I theorize the political economy of music and sound in one speci c institution, the Caribbean all-inclusive hotels. This study demysti es the work of entertainment managers and musicians’ artistic performance in touristic encounters. It complicates how sounds are bound up in and mediate understandings of colonialism, race, gender, and national identities. It provides ways of thinking about affective marketing, place-making through sound, and musicians’ material and affective labor. It calls attention to how the economics invested in music and sound in touristic sites are deeply informed by local, regional, and global nancial dynamics. Drawing on eldwork in Saint Lucia, this study highlights the material, political, and economic conditions of music and sound that is central to human encounters in touristic sites.


Safeguarding Living Heritage in Newfoundland and Labrador

Dale Jarvis (Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador)

Tuesday, November 7, 2017 (7:30 P.M.)

Public folklorist, storyteller, and heritage activist Dale Jarvis is the Intangible Cultural Heritage Development Offcer for Newfoundland and Labrador. Jarvis works with local partners to make sure that living heritage remains relevant to communities in the province. In this talk, Jarvis will give examples from the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador’s current research, showing how folklore and intangible cultural heritage is at the heart of local life and demonstrating the links between intangible heritage, built heritage, and community development.


The Idea of North, Post-Nationalism, and the Changing Ecology of Experimental Music Performance in Canada

Dr. Ellen Waterman (Memorial University of Newfoundland)

Wednesday, January 17, 2018 (7:30 P.M.)

For much of the 20th century, Canada was defined by tropes of nature and place, most famously the “idea of north” that was first expressed in experimental music in Glenn Gould’s famous 1969 radio collage of the same name. But how does the “idea of north” trope relate to Canadian experimental music today? This talk explores the changing ecology of experimental music in the first decades of the 21st century and especially the symbiotic relationship between public funding and artistic programming and content. I track the effects on experimental music of shifting priorities at the Canada Council for the Arts towards a post-genre, post-reconciliation, diversity-driven agenda that positions music in terms of philosopher John Ralston-Saul’s ambiguous definition of Canada as a “perpetually unfinished experiment” in post-nationalism. Drawing on performance studies and acoustic ecology, I trouble these terms and show how experimental music festivals operate as dynamic ecosystems in which developing and often con icting notions of identity are performed.


“Metal is Always Protest Music”: An Ethnomusicological Perspective on the Indonesian Heavy Metal Scene

Dr. Jeremy Wallach (Bowling Green State University)

Wednesday, February 15, 2018 (7:30 P.M.)

Dismissed as politically inert, if not reactionary, by many in western countries, heavy metal’s relationship to progressive social change is complex. With the emergence of academic metal studies has come greater awareness of the profound dedication of the genre’s worldwide fanbase and the threat it has posed to totalitarian regimes—in some cases aiding in their demise. This is illustrated by the history of metal fandom in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and the former Soviet Union, among other locales, but one of the most dramatic cases can be found in the largest metal scene in Southeast Asia: Indonesia. Indonesian metalheads protested against the dictatorial Soeharto regime prior to its downfall in 1998, and in 2014 one of them became Indonesia’s seventh president, defeating a throwback from the repressive Soeharto years. How was this possible? This presentation attempts to answer this question, drawing on twenty years of ethnomusicological research on the Indonesian metal scene.


Stylistic Mediation and Creative Practice

Dr. Jayson Beaster-Jones (University of California, Merced)

Tuesday, March 6, 2018 (7:30 P.M.)

In this presentation, I develop a theoretical model called “stylistic mediation” that explains the forms of musical changes that take place through musical-cultural encounters. By stylistic mediation, I mean the production of a musical representation in which material from one set of conventions is reframed according to the values of a different set of conventions. Coupling Peircean semiotics with insights from linguistic anthropology, cultural studies, and ethnomusicology, this model of mediation is a productive way to explain human creative processes. Drawing on disparate examples, including jazz and Indian film scores, I describe how practitioners from different expressive traditions mediate other modes of artistic practice to create novel representations. These mediations enable the production of new practices that sometimes solidify into new conventions. I argue that this notion of stylistic mediation has an analytic utility beyond music and thus becomes a useful way to describe the peregrinations of expressive culture over time.


Music, Media and Place

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