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Hicham Chami Wins 2017 T. Temple Tuttle Prize from SEM Niagara Chapter!

Hicham Chami
The Center congratulates Columbia Ethnomusicology PhD student Hicham Chami, who has been awarded the 2017 T. Temple Tuttle Prize for the best paper presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology's Niagara Chapter.  Mr. Chami's prizewinning paper was entitled "A Tale of Two Protectorates: Cultural Hegemony in Colonial Morocco and Its Impact on Indigenous Musics."

The conference was held at Kent State University in Spring 2017.

Congratulations, Hicham!

Prof. David Samuels (NYU): "That's Willoughby Right Outside.” (Fri. Nov. 10, 4PM)

Event Start: 
Friday, November 10, 2017 - 4:00pm
701C Dodge Hall (The Center for Ethnomusioclogy)

The Center for Ethnomusicology presents a colloquium with:

Prof. David Samuels
(Assoc. Prof. and Chair, Department of Music, New York University)

Title: "That's Willoughby Right Outside.”

Friday Nov. 10, 2017
701C Dodge Hall (Center for Ethnomusicology)
Free and Open to the Public
ABSTRACT: The twentieth century was witness to an ethical discourse about the scope of the human that took its cues from a discussion of how people should sound. The tones and timbres of vocal and instrumental music became key reference points in a dialogue about how to maintain one’s humanity under the conditions of modern urban industrial capital. Three interlocked musical movements—historical performance, folk revivalism, and world music—represent overlapping attempts to retrieve an ethical human existence within the contexts of the perceived dehumanizing processes of industrial modernity. The three share common arguments about the human body and the value of social participation as important locations in which to find continued expressions of humanity in the contemporary world.

BIO:  David Samuels, Associate Professor and Chair, Music Department, New York University, is a linguistic anthropologist, folklorist, and ethnomusicologist. His work on poetics, discourse, music, and vernacular modernities includes the book Putting A Song On Top of It: Music and Identity on the San Carlos Apache Reservation, as well as articles in American Ethnologist, Journal of American Folklore, Cultural Anthropology, and Semiotica. A Pisces, his favorite season is autumn and his favorite color is Pantone 346.

Eben Graves: “The Politics of Musical Time: Expanding Songs and Shrinking Markets in Bengali Devotional Performance."

Event Start: 
Friday, December 8, 2017 - 4:00pm
701C Dodge Hall (The Center for Ethnomusioclogy)

The Historical Musicology, Music Theory, and Center for Ethnomusicology Colloquium Series jointly present a talk by:

Dr. Eben Graves (Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Music, Columbia University)

“The Politics of Musical Time: Expanding Songs and Shrinking Markets in Bengali Devotional Performance." 

Friday, December 8, 2017
701C Dodge Hall (Columbia Morningside Campus)
Free and Open to the Public

For centuries, performances of devotional song in eastern India have used temporal features of musical style to express ideas about religious affect and political belonging. A feature of musical time prominent in padavali kirtan,a medium of song and storytelling from the Bengal region, is the use of an expansive musical style that elongates short song texts into long-song forms. The slow tempos and large meters used in performance illustrate connections between musical style and the processes of devotional meditation central to devotional practice in Bengal since the sixteenth century. While musicians attempt to reinforce these links in the present, features of modern time organization have introduced temporal conflicts that challenge the completion of full-length song renditions. This talk examines how musicians work to reinforce the connections between devotional practice and musical time that are strained in the performance contexts of contemporary India, as I focus on how features of musical time are negotiated in live performance and media production.

Eben Graves is a Mellon Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow and Lecturer in the Department of Music at Columbia University. He earned a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology at the University of Texas at Austin in 2014 with a dissertation studying padavali kirtan. His articles appear or are forthcoming in Ethnomusicology, the Journal of Hindu Studies, Oxford Bibliographies Online, and the Journal of Vaishnava Studies. 

Congratulations to Dr. Whitney Slaten!

Congratulations to Dr. Whitney Slaten!  Dr. Slaten successfully defended his PhD dissertation, "Doing Sound: An Ethnography of Fidelity, Temporality and Labor Among Live Sound Engineers," on Monday, October 16, 2017.  His dissertation was sponsored by Prof. Aaron Fox, and his committee included Profs. Chris Washburne, George Lewis, Walter Frisch, and John Szwed.

Dr. Slaten, who is also a professional audio engineer and jazz musician, is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Technology at The New School's Eugene Lang College. 

Congratulations again, Doctor Slaten!

Tyler Bickford - “Inappropriate and Inarticulate: Schooling, Childhood, and the Poetics of New Media” (Fri. Oct 13, 4PM)

Event Start: 
Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - 4:00pm
701C Dodge Hall (The Center for Ethnomusioclogy)
The Center for Ethnomusicology announces a public talk by:

Tyler Bickford

Assistant Professor of Childhood Studies, Department of English, University of Pittsburgh

“Inappropriate and Inarticulate: Schooling, Childhood, and the Poetics of New Media”

Friday, October 13, 2017
701C Dodge Hall (Center for Ethnomusicology)
Columbia Univ. Morningside Campus
Free and open to the public

Prof. Bickford (an alumnus of Columbia's PhD program in Ethnomusicology) will be speaking on the subject of his new book, Schooling New Media: Music, Language and Technology in Children's Culture (Oxford University Press, 2017). 

Schooling New Media is a groundbreaking study of children’s music and media consumption practices, examining how transformations in music technologies influence the way children, their peers, and adults relate to one another. Based on long-term ethnographic research with a community of schoolchildren in Vermont, Tyler Bickford focuses on portable digital music devices – i.e. MP3 players – to reveal their key role in mediating intimate, face-to-face relationships and structuring children’s interactions both with music and with each other. Schooling New Media provides an important ethnographic and theoretical intervention into ethnomusicology, childhood studies, and music education, emphasizing the importance—and yet under-appreciation—of interpersonal interactions and institutions like schools as sites of musical activity. Bickford explores how headphones facilitate these school-centered interactions, as groups of children share their earbuds with friends and listen to music together while participating in the dense overlap of talk, touch, and gesture of their peer groups. He argues that children treat MP3 players more like toys than technology, and that these devices expand the repertoires of childhood communicative practices such as passing notes and whispering—all means of interacting with friends beyond the reach of adults. These connections afforded by digital music listening enable children to directly challenge the language and literacy goals of classroom teachers. Bickford’s Schooling New Media is unique in its intensive ethnographic attention to everyday sites of musical consumption and performance, and offers a sophisticated conceptual approach for understanding the problems and possibilities of children’s uses of new media in schools.
Tyler Bickford is an assistant professor of children’s literature and childhood studies in the Department of English at the University of Pittsburgh. He is the author of Schooling New Media: Music, Language, and Technology in Children’s Culture (Oxford University Press, 2017). 

Music & Sound Studies Workshop (9/22-23, 2017)

Event Start: 
Friday, September 22, 2017 - 10:00am - Saturday, September 23, 2017 - 11:00am
701C Dodge Hall (The Center for Ethnomusioclogy) (Concert will be at Maison Francaise)
A Workshop

Friday and Saturday, September 22-23, 2017
Columbia University
Department of Music
701C Dodge Hall  (Center for Ethnomusicology)
Free and Open to the Public

This workshop has emerged from the desire to formalize disciplinary exchanges among scholars at the intersection of music and sound studies in Paris (Paris Sciences et Lettres) and at Columbia. In the last few years sound studies has emerged as an increasingly institutionalized discipline. Books, journals, readers, courses, and conferences have consolidated this historically transdisciplinary and dispersed field into a broad, albeit still disciplinarily dispersed debate. This increasing attention to sound raises historical and epistemological issues and invites further consideration of the interaction between sound studies and musical disciplines.  The purpose of this workshop is to think together through the questions and issues raised by the intersection of music and sound studies from historically, ethnographically, and scientifically situated research.

 “Music & Sound Studies: Intersections, Boundaries, Opportunities” seeks to explore the relation between musical disciplines and sound studies through three key sites: sounds of the city and the historically problematic notion of soundscape; music, soundscapes, and the political; and the relationships among acoustics and neuroscience and music/sound. Additionally, an evening concert of recent compositions will display the current range of work in “sound art,” a richly interdisciplinary creative field.

"Music & Sound Studies" is supported by the Columbia University Office of the Dean of Humanities of Arts & Sciences, Department of Music, Center for Ethnomusicology, Center for Science and Society, Maison Française, Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities, the Fritz Reiner Center for Contemporary Music; and by Paris Sciences et Lettres

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Whitney Slaten Appointed Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Technology at Eugene Lang College

The PhD program in Ethnomusicology at Columbia University is proud to announce that PhD candidate Whitney Slaten has been appointed as Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Technology at Eugene Lang College (The New School) for 2017-2018. 

Congratulations Whitney!

Mr. Slaten will shortly defend a doctoral dissertation that studies the work of live sound engineering.  He is also presenting on this work on Tuesday Sept. 21 at 6PM in St. Paul's Chapel. More information can be found here.

Whitney Slaten: Jazzmobile, Community and the Harlem Soundscape (9/19 6PM, St Pauls Chapel)

Event Start: 
Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 6:00pm
St. Paul's Chapel (Columbia University main campus 116th Street and Broadway New York City)

The Center for Jazz Studies in Conjunction with Music and St. Paul's and Jazzmobile Present:

Jazzmobile, Community and the Harlem Soundscape

Featuring a Performance by the Jazzmobile All Stars Ensemble

Talk by:
Whitney Slaten
Ph.D. Candidate in Music, Columbia University

Date and Time: Tuesday, September 19, 6pm
Location: St. Paul’s Chapel
(Columbia University main campus 116th Street and Broadway New York City)

In response to the increasing inaccessibility of jazz performances in Harlem, Dr. Billy Taylor founded Jazzmobile in 1964, a not-for-profit arts organization that presents free, professional, live jazz concerts in order to bring jazz “back to Harlem.” Jazzmobile has presented free, live jazz concerts continuously for over fifty years, through which audiences, production teams, organizers and musicians sound and listen to amplified jazz at historical sites in Harlem’s outdoors.

Jazzmobile, Community, and the Harlem Soundscape engages how Jazzmobile constructs community and the soundscape of Harlem in the midst of Harlem’s changing milieu. The program features performances by Jazzmobile all stars, a keynote address interrogating Jazzmobile as cultural repatriation and a roundtable discussion with Jazzmobile audience members.
This event is free and open to everyone. Please rsvp to or call 212-851-9270

Co-Presented by Columbia University Center for Jazz Studies, Music at St. Paul’s & Jazzmobile 

Abhijit Bose: “Music and Nature in Rural Bengal” (Thurs 9/21 - 6:00-8:00pm)

Event Start: 
Thursday, September 21, 2017 - 6:00pm - 8:00pm
701C Dodge Hall (The Center for Ethnomusioclogy)

The Center for Ethnomusicology presents a conversation and demonstration with:

Abhijit Bose

“Music and Nature in Rural Bengal: The Tides of Bhatiyali, Bhawaiyya, Baul, and Jhumur.” 

Event Start: Thursday, September 21, 2017 6:00-8:00pm
Location: 701C Dodge Hall (The Center for Ethnomusicology)

Free and open to the public. Space is limited.  

In this lecture and performance, Abhijit Bose will examine the integral relationship between nature, specifically the tides, in rural Bengal (both East and West), and its musical genres. The high tides and low tides of rural Bengal bring with it narratives of separation, hardship, fertility, and enchantment – all of which are embodied in the musical genres of Bhatiyali, Bhawaiyya, Baul, and Jhumur

Bose will elaborate on the instruments, melodies, and rhythms used in these genres, the lyrics and their meanings, and the multi-dimensional history of the people of rural Bengal – all the while reiterating the fluidity between political borders.

Abhijit Bose is a folk singer, song writer, composer, and music director based in West Bengal, India. He specializes in the rural musical traditions of West Bengal and Bangladesh, and encourages musical education, by bringing awareness of rural genres to the urban public. His knowledge of the various linguistic dialects of Bengal, coupled with his studies on the history and style of various genres in the region, enriches his own approach to performance. Bose now experiments with musical fusion and believes that modern songs can be enriched through constant dialogue with folk traditions. He is currently a regular performer on All India Radio and Doordarshan.

Beatriz Goubert appointed intern at Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage

Ethnomusicology Ph.D. candidate Beatriz Goubert has been appointed as an intern at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage during summer 2017. She will work with Smithsonian Folkways Recordings director and curator Huib Schippers on “Sound Futures,” a collaborative project on the cultural sustainability of music practices (

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