Decolonizing Europe through Music Scholarship? Whiteness, Citizenship and Borders

Thursday, 30. September 2021 um 09:00 Uhr

Symposium of the Department of Ethnomusicology and Comparative Musicology in the Society for Music Research (GfM)

30 September 2021 | Concert Hall, Beethovenhaus Bonn (Bonngasse 22-24 53111 Bonn) | GfM, University of Bonn  | 10€ - 80€

There are many theories of “decolonization” that have differing valency, priorities and urgencies in different political, academic, and disciplinary contexts. Our definition is still broad, focusing on interrogating the impact of European imperialism on formations of race, class, gender and sexuality, and countering epistemic, methodological and institutional exclusion and violence founded on the racist, sexist, classist, and homophobic legacies of Europe. The symposium will focus on issues of whiteness, citizenship and borders to address new constellations of power and exclusion in 21st century Europe.

Europe clings ever more fervently to its self-image as the universal, the source of ‘reason’, knowledge’ and ‘freedom’, while its own populations, institutions and knowledge systems resist, collapse and undermine its own supposed supremacy. It celebrates its tradition of democracy as populist parties erode possibilities for political representation and demand more exclusive categories for citizenship; it marvels at its green technological inventions as it continues to over-consume and pollute; it continues in the pursuit for financial growth as austerity measures increase class and regional divides; it praises its progressive gender politics and LGBT rights as it sends asylum seekers to detention centers and leaves migrants to die in the Mediterranean. A postcolonial project of decolonizing Europe has demanded the continent to address its imperial legacies and continuing neo-imperialisms especially along lines of race, ethnicity, religion, class, gender and sexuality. Today, scholars’ and activists’ calls to decolonize the continent take on a greater sense of urgency but also a complexity within the Europe’s new constellations of power, regions and ideologies. The symposium will focus on issues of whiteness, citizenship and borders to address new constellations of power and exclusion in 21st century Europe.

This event will address a wide range of these issues through inspecting music, music making and music scholarship in a variety of contexts:

• How is whiteness constructed or deconstructed musically in Europe today?

• In what ways do music and music scholarship in Europe perpetuate notions of European citizenship based around normative identity categories? How may music in Europe grant or withhold citizenship?

• How can music uphold or transgress ethnic, national and continental borders?

• How does music scholarship engage itself in the construction and imagination of Europe?

• What are the (post-)colonial premises and historical, ideological and institutional underpinnings on which musicology in Europe has unfolded? What are the critical responses to them?

• What does decolonizing Europe mean in the twenty-first century and what are the responsibilities of music scholars?

The goal is to deepen and develop further (ethno)musicological approaches, concepts and strategies addressing these timely and urgent debates. With this symposium we intend to create a transdisciplinary space for exchange on current research projects on the subject “Decolonizing Europe”, representative of the spectrum of musicological work in these contexts. These include, but are not limited to, research fields that are related to ethnomusicology and other fields of social- and cultural musicology. The concept of music is understood broadly and is not limited to any specifications of genre.

More information and participation : Click here.