Elaine Sandoval presents at Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM) 2018 Annual Meeting in Albuquerque
The 63rd Annual Meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM) took place in Albuquerque, New Mexico, from November 15-18, 2018. MOMRI Associate Research Fellow Elaine Sandoval presented her dissertation research on the panel “Crisis, Music, and Cultural Politics Across Contemporary Latin America and the Caribbean,” which received sponsorship by the Latin American and Caribbean Music Section of SEM. Her paper, entitled, “(Re)making Música Llanera: Performance, Circuits, and Transnationalism during Venezuela’s State Crisis,” presented recent fieldwork in both Venezuela and New York City in order to discuss emerging international circuits of Venezuelan musicians, the discourses around the crisis and migration that circulate in the Venezuelan music scene, and the negotiations of the crisis faced by musicians still in Venezuela. Sandoval drew on ethnography in order to examine the ways that new geographies of música llanera are being delineated through crisis and migration.
The panel was chaired by Jeff Packman (University of Toronto), and included presentations by Jamie Corbett (Brown University) on cultural policy in Brazil, Jessica Hajek (University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music) on Dominican carnival parades, and Juan Sebastian Rojas (Indiana University Bloomington) on “music for peace” programs in Colombia. A nice continuity emerged with Juan Sebastian Rojas’s presentation, as he and Elaine Sandoval had also presented together at the 2017 SEM Workshop on Music and Peacebuilding organized by MOMRI’s director, Olivier Urbain. Rojas’s recently completed dissertation is a suggested read for MOMRI’s mailing list, for its interventions and insights into music and peacebuilding work.
Several roundtables at SEM demonstrated the ever-growing interests in public engagement in relation to ethnomusicology. In particular, the President’s Roundtable “Humanities’ Responses to the Anthropocene” discussed the importance of centering ecological perspectives and research in the study of music; the roundtable “Ethnomusicologists as Public Commentators” discussed the roles and efforts that ethnomusicologists can consider in order to bridge their academic roles with civic responsibilities; and the roundtable “Recognizing and Confronting White Supremacy through Sound Scholarship” considered the role of ethnomusicologists in race and politics. The latter two panels specifically spoke to the recent concerns (especially in the US) with white nationalism, with several ethnomusicologists speaking of their involvement with Black Lives Matter, and in reaction to recent white nationalist rallies at the University of Virginia. Scholars pointed to the usages of sound, noise, and music in social organizing (both leftist and rightist) and reflected on the challenges of researching communities and musical practices centered on hate.
The panel “Crisis, Music, and Cultural Politics Across Contemporary Latin America and the Caribbean” at SEM 2019 in Albuquerque. L-R: Juan Sebastian Rojas, Jessica Hajek, Jaime Corbett, Elaine Sandoval, and Jeff Packman.