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Veena and Devesh Chandra, a renowned mother-and-son duo, will perform a concert of sitar and tabla on Saturday evening. Photo: Amy Hart

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Middlebury Hosts Ethnomusicology Conference March 17-18

March 15, 2017

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – How does music affect society, politics, and the economy? Those are some of the questions scholars and students will explore when Middlebury College hosts the 2017 Northeast Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology (NECSEM) conference March 17-18. The public is invited to several free events, including an opening concert of sitar and tabla music by award winning Indian classical music combo Veena and Devesh Chandra. The concert begins at 8 p.m. Friday evening at the Robison Concert Hall at the Mahaney Center for the Arts.

On Saturday, scholars in ethnomusicology and related fields from throughout the region will present papers and conduct workshops on global musics and their role in social life. The first of four sessions will focus on “South American Soundscapes,” with such thought-provoking topics as “The Sounds of the Aguante: Singing and Listening in the Affective Violence of Argentine Soccer Supporters” by Brown University scholar Luis Achondo. Other sessions throughout the day will explore “Musical Identities in Production,” “Music in Theoretical Context,” and “Movements and Movements.”

William Cheng will deliver the keynote address.

William Cheng, assistant professor of music at Dartmouth College, will deliver the keynote address on Saturday evening at 5:15 in the concert hall titled “I, Spy: Violence, Voice, and Queer-Crip Ethics in Online Game Fieldwork.” In his talk, Cheng offers critical reflections on how verbal barbs and virtual barbarities in online game worlds scramble the fieldworker's “moral compass.” With an ear toward controversies of masculinity, surveillance, shame, and disability, Cheng asks whether a video game ethnography—maybe any ethnography—“demands queer and crip ethics, a flux of guiding ideas defined precisely by their playful, radical indefinition.”

“It’s a profound honor to welcome such a diversity of scholars and perspectives to Middlebury,” said Assistant Professor of Music Damascus Kafumbe, who is chairing the conference. “This will be an enlightening couple of days and I invite the community to join us for the paper presentations and the concert.”

All events are free and open to the public. The conference is co-sponsored by the Middlebury College Department of Music, the Mahaney Center for the Arts, the Academic Enrichment Fund, and the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Research. View the full schedule of events online.