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Transforming Ethnomusicology Volume I

Methodologies, Institutional Structures, and Policies

Edited by Beverley Diamond and Salwa El-Shawan Castelo-Branco

Publication Date - March 2021

ISBN: 9780197517611

282 pages
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches

In Stock

Transforming Ethnomusicology aims to deepen and broaden dialogues about social engagement within the discipline of ethnomusicology.


For decades, ethnomusicologists across the world have considered how to affect positive change for the communities they work with. Through illuminating case studies and reflections by a diverse array of scholars and practitioners, Transforming Ethnomusicology aims to both expand dialogues about social engagement within ethnomusicology and, at the same time, transform how we understand ethnomusicology as a discipline.

The first volume of Transforming Ethnomusicology focuses on ethical practice and collaboration, examining the power relations inherent in ethnography and offering new strategies for transforming institutions and ethnographic methods. These reflections on the broader framework of ethnomusicological practice are complemented by case studies that document activist approaches to the study of music in challenging contexts of poverty, discrimination, and other unjust systems.


  • Critically engages with collaboration and social engagement in ethnomusicological practice
  • Offers innovative models for transforming research methodologies and institutional structures
  • Features compelling case studies that reflect on the challenges of working with marginalized groups in an ethical way

About the Author(s)

Beverley Diamond is Professor Emerita at Memorial University of Newfoundland where she served as the first Canada Research Chair in Ethnomusicology and founded and directed the Research Centre for the Study of Music, Media, and Place (MMaP) from 2003-15. Diamond is known for her feminist music research and her work on Canadian cultural historiography and Indigenous music cultures in North America and Scandinavia.

Salwa El-Shawan Castelo-Branco is Professor of Ethnomusicology at the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities of the Nova University of Lisbon, Portugal, where she founded and directs the Ethnomusicology Institute - Center for the Study of Music and Dance (INET-md). Her publications focus on cultural politics, musical nationalism, identity, music media, modernity, heritagization, and music and conflict in Portugal, Egypt, and Oman.


"A highly original and unusually rewarding read. If anyone wondered what twenty-first century ethnomusicology could become, Transforming Ethnomusicology provides creative ideas and inspiration. Bursting with fresh insights, it speaks to issues of major concern and defines the field." -- Lee Tong Soon, Lehigh University, general editor of the Yearbook for Traditional Music

"A testament to the labor of activism, advocacy, and community involvement, Transforming Ethnomusicology lays the groundwork for contemporary practices in applied research that frame the multidimensional roles of scholarly involvement in music-driven social justice — a timely contribution to the field." -- Adriana Helbig, Associate Professor of Music, University of Pittsburgh

Table of Contents

    Ethnomusicological Praxis: An Introduction
    Beverley Diamond and Salwa El-Shawan Castelo-Branco
    Chapter 1: Changing Praxis and Ethical Practice: Lessons for Ethnomusicology from Applied Anthropology
    Tony Seeger
    Chapter 2: International Council for Traditional Music and Society for Ethnomusicology: A Reflection through Two Complementary Lenses
    Svanibor Pettan
    Chapter 3: Collaborative Ethnography: Trends, Developments, and Opportunities
    Luke Eric Lassiter
    Chapter 4: Sincerely Outspoken: Towards a Critical Activist Ethnomusicology
    David A. McDonald
    Chapter 5: "How Is that Going to Help Anyone?" A Critical Activist Ethnomusicology
    Oliver Y. Shao
    Chapter 6: Praxis through Honk: The Rise of Politically Active Street Brass Bands in the United States
    Becky Liebman
    Chapter 7: Zafé Fatra (The Affair of Trash) and the Affair of Scholarly Engagement: Can Music (and Music Scholarship) Really Clean Up the Streets of Port-au-Prince?
    Rebecca Dirksen
    Chapter 8: Engaged Activist Research: Dialogical Interventions Towards Revitalizing the Chinese Glove Puppet Theatre in Penang
    Tan Sooi Beng
    Chapter 9: On Not Knowing: Academically Based Community Service, Faith Based Organizations, and the Transformation of Ethnomusicological Praxis
    Carol Muller and Nina Öhman
    Chapter 10: Performing Transitional Justice: Song, Truth-telling and Memory in South Sudan
    Angela Impey
    Chapter 11: Witnessing: A Methodology
    Deborah Wong

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