Listening Acts: Contemporary Tunisian-Andalusi Musical Politics
Rachel Colwell - University of California, Berkeley
Ma’l”÷f – Tunisian music of Arab-Andalusian origin – has been emblematic of the emerging nation since 1930s, but today most Tunisians can’t afford to attend a performance. In the fallout of the Arab Spring (2011-), to whom does ma’l”÷f still sound and mean “familiar”? By theorizing “listening acts,” this presentation explores approaches towards engaged critique of state-sponsored narratives, renewal of creative practice, and reclamation of ma’l”÷f among Tunisian young adults.
Rachel Colwell is a Doctoral Candidate in Ethnomusicology at the University of California, Berkeley, specializing in ma’l”÷f – Tunisian Arab-Andalusi art music – and listening practices. In her work she investigates the connections to geographic places and movements, emplaced sonic histories, and affective orientations perpetuated and challenged through contemporary Tunisian listening acts. Rachel Colwell is especially concerned with the experiences of young people and amateur music enthusiasts. Her work advocates for increased attention toward questions of access and participation in post-authoritarian contexts and for multisensory and emplaced knowledge as key sites of continued anti-colonial resistance and scholarship.
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