The Center for World Music creates access to research and participation in producing knowledge. The research centre organises conferences, round tables and symposia with national and international partners in order to participate in and shape discourses on ethnomusicology.



Past conferences

Emptiness, silence and the experience of waiting: Anthropological perspectives on the subject of absences / Le vide, le silence, l’attente : Une anthropologie de l’absence

Autumn school | 22th - 26th november 2021 | Bayonne, Basque Country - France | Deutsch-Französische Hochschule (DFH) / Université franco-allemande (UFA)

Contributions are sought for the Autumn School of the Franco-German University (DFH) and the Université franco-allemande (UFA), hosted by ethnomusicologists from the CWM and colleagues from Paris and Cologne. The autumn school will take place 22-26 November, contributions and applications to participate can be submitted until 03 October.

This autumn school will deal with the topic of "Anthropology of Absence", referring to experiences of emptiness, silence and insecurity, which will be surveyed and discussed in an interdisciplinary way, especially in their scientific-theoretical dimension with reference to music. The particular social effectiveness of experiences of absence and strategies of withdrawal will be inquired into. The Autumn School 2021 will also enable scholars from the humanities and social sciences to engage in a dialogue with prominent artists and representatives of cultural institutions (including the director Lena Herzog and her work Last Whispers).



Arrival: Sunday, 21th November 2021; Departure: Saturday, 27th November 2021.

Participants: 16 Young academics or artists (Master, PhD, Post-Doc). No restriction in terms of nationality and discipline.

Working languages: French, German, English.

Location: Institut ARI (CNRS-EHESS), Cité des Arts, 3 avenue Jean Darrigrand, F-64100 Bayonne

Digital submission to: / / /

Submission deadline: Sunday, 03rd October 2021 11:59 pm, Selection: Friday, 08th October 2021

Costs: Participation is free of charge. Travel and accommodation costs on site will be covered by the Autumn School.. 


Traumatic experiences in our societies often refer to experiences of silence, doubt, emptiness, absence and to forms of (a-)waiting that are considered constitutive experiences of life. However, waiting can by no means be characterised as an inactive state, but rather as a state that can also be active and productive, especially in cultural terms. The suspension of social activity can thus be as restrictive as it can be liberating. Forms and strategies of artistically productive waiting will therefore form the starting point for reflections by and with young researchers within the framework of the DFH.

The situation of (self-)isolation experienced by the pandemic itself has drawn our attention to existing works in the field of "anthropology of absence" (Bille, Hastrup, Sørensen 2010). We aim to open up and expand this discourse to enable innovative interdisciplinary perspectives on a highly topical field of social science research - that of "seemingly passive" or "unproductive" social practices. Withdrawal from the social, or practices in which "absence" is socially marked (the "minute of silence", for example), are therefore central. The event attempts to address and comparatively discuss human strategies of dealing with absences and forms of silence.


Interdisciplinary perspectives

The scientific discipline of anthropology has dealt intensively with the role of the senses in the construction of human communities. Although individual studies have dealt exemplarily with expressions of silence as well as strategies of social withdrawal (as an alternative form of sociality), for example in the form of comparative studies on the subject area of "waiting" (Hage 1997) or in an ethnographic context (Kobelinsky 2010), these tend to be perceived as exceptional situations beyond the norm and have not been analysed in depth.

1. in the field of philosophy and cognitive psychology, the analysis of experiences of waiting, silence and absence have led to a better grasp of certain forms of traumatisation, while also promoting studies in the field of social inequality and unequal access to social services. Laure Wolmark (2017) coined the term " clinique de l'exil " in the context of her studies on asylum seekers' experiences of loss and social marginalisation. In this context, the experience of waiting is characterised as a specific form of psychological violence. The Autumn School therefore focuses on the question: Can the experience of waiting be systematically linked to forms of exclusion, powerlessness or (social) degradation? This question will be discussed with reference to case studies, situationally located and contextualised observations from different cultural contexts, and the potential of interdisciplinary methodologies for this thematic field will also be examined. 2.

The social and cultural sciences have already dealt with the phenomenon of silence in detail. Silence is not only understood as the "absence of sound", but also as an intentional act to "express something" - for example in moments of social sharing of silence ("minute of silence"). Silence is also perceived as an indicator of forms of inequality. In this context, silence in the field of music is often presented as an "anti-social" phenomenon (Seremetakis 1997), which is at odds with forms of "expressing oneself", with the vocal ability of "voicing" (Weidman 2014). On the other hand, with reference to Foucault, silence was characterised as a specific form of the social exercise of power, as the "currency of power" (Achino-Loeb 2005). Similar classifications were undertaken for the phenomenon of waiting: social hierarchies determine who waits for whom in these patterns of thought we questioned. In a symmetrical way, silence is described as a social operation by sociologically oriented musicology research (Le Marec and Ribac 2019).

3. the political dimension is the third dimension of engagement with the thematic field. Specifically, this manifests itself in forms of withdrawal and (enforced) silencing. Brandon LaBelle (Overheard and Interrupted 2016) speaks in this context of sonic agency to denote a "passive subversive activity" that can challenge existing social and political orders. Silence or passivity as activity in this context characterises a specific form of communication. This active dimension of a seemingly passive social behaviour will be the focus of the academic exchange of the autumn school. Experiences of silence, distancing, absence, (self-)isolation and withdrawal prominently question our established notions of social norms.

In line with the aim of the Summer Schools since their inception in 2010, we refer to case studies that are juxtaposed, compared and considered from interdisciplinary perspectives. We seek the participation of scholars from a broad field of the humanities and social sciences - for example, from the disciplines of ethnology, anthropology, musicology, history, art and media studies, geography, sociology, political science and psychology.

For the 2021 edition, applications are especially welcome from (sound) artists and cultural creators who have made emptiness, absences or silence the starting point of their works. The Autumn School is planned as a face-to-face event, but adapted to the pandemic situation, the possibility of presenting individual contributions in digital form will be offered.

Organising team
  • Dr. Michael Fuhr, ethnomusicologist, Center for World Music, University of Hildesheim Foundation
  • Prof. Denis Laborde, Anthropologe, directeur d’études EHESS (Paris), directeur de recherche CNRS (UMR Passages – Institut ARI, Bayonne)
  • JProf. Dr. Eckehard Pistrick, ethnomusicologist, Institute for European Ethnomusicology, University of Cologne
  • Prof. Dr. Raimund Vogels, ethnomusicologist, Center for World Music, University of Hildesheim Foundation, Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media
Guest Speakers
  •     Prof. Martin Stokes, ethnomusicologist, King's College, London
  •     Dr. Antonio Pusceddu, ethnologist, CRIA, University of Lissabon
  •     JProf. Konstanze Schütze, curator, Art and Media Theory, University of Cologne
  •     Prof. Philip Bohlman, ethnomusicologist, University of Chicago (tbc)
  •     Dr. Carolina Kobelinsky, anthropologist, CNRS (LESC, Université Paris-Nanterre) (tbc)
  •     Dr. Karsten Lichau, historian, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin (tbc)


  • Lena Herzog, photographer and video artist, San Francisco & Prof. Madana Seyfeddinipour, SOAS University of London/visiting scholar at Leibniz-Zentrum General Philology (Berlin) for Last Whispers, Oratorio for vanishing voices, collapsing universes and a falling tree, création audiovisuelle sur les langues menacées de disparition.
  • Paula Olaz, Composer, & Gonzalo Amilburu, director for AZTARNAK 1 – TRACES 1, what you leave behind to live (Haizebegi production with asylum seekers from the CADA in Bayonne and students from the San Sebastian Film School)

Our linguistic diversity is eroding. The dynamics of transmission are eroding in favour of the dominant languages. Every week, a language disappears from the face of the earth. Scientists count 7,000 languages today, half of which will be extinct by the end of the century. Lena Herzog takes up this theme: Last Whispers is an "immersive oratorio" composed for a high-tech audiovisual installation. How does the human community survive the loss of this instrument of communication, which is also an instrument of self-knowledge? How can we accept the end of this part of ourselves that everyone inherits and that has given meaning to the depths of the ages of civilisation in the world we live in? Because it is undoubtedly too late, the UN and UNESCO have declared 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages. The creeping annihilation is progressing massively, its only sign is silence itself. This catastrophe haunts the art of Lena Herzog.

Last Whispers are the last whispers of these languages that human intemperance brings with it. Lena Herzog makes us listen to them: the Wanano of the indigenous peoples of Brazil and Colombia, the Ayoreo of the last communities to seek refuge in the forests of Paraguay, the Bathari from Oman, the Tosu, the Tibeto-Burmese language of Sichuan. By immersing herself in the archives of the Endangered Languages Programme (ELDP) at the School for Oriental and African Studies (SOAS, University of London) and working on and with the archival documents held there, she has created a raw record of a humanity still rich in diversity. So she has transformed these languages into a fascinating acoustic sequence. The images recorded in black and white dialogue with the scientific archives and the binaural sound allow us to plunge into the depths of these ontologies that have given meaning to human adventure. Lena Herzog's visionary concern is to experience the imminent end of the world in order to avoid it.


Applicants send an abstract/project of max. 2 pages. 8 contributions will be selected (Group A). Each applicant will develop a text of about 10 pages to be made available on a common platform. During the Autumn School, these contributions will be commented on by 8 other contributors (Group B). The publication of an article in the Cahiers scientifiques du festival Haizebegi is planned.



Application documents


  •     short CV;
  •     short presentation of the artistic project or the PhD/Master's/Post-Doc project;
  •     short summary of the project/planned contribution (max. 2 pages) with reference to the topic of the Autumn School.

Submission in electronic form to the organising team at the following email addresses: / / /

Deadline for submission: Sunday, 03 October 2021 11:59 pm, Selection: Friday, 0th October 2021


Decolonizing Europe through Music Scholarship? Whiteness, Citizenship and Borders

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 and online via Whova

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.




09:00 Welcome address and introductory talk by Michael Fuhr (University of Hildesheim), Cornelia Gruber (University of Vienna) and Thomas Hilder (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim)

09:30 Eckehard Pistrick (University of Cologne): The ‘eye level fiction:’ Power Inequalities in Ethnomusicological Research and Teaching

10:00 [digital] Juniper Hill (University of Würzburg): Cultural Imperialism and the Assessment of Creative Work: Examples from Finnish and South African Tertiary Jazz Programs

10:30 break

11:00 Lisa Gaupp (Leuphana-Universität Lüneburg): Transcultural Music Studies: A Decolonial Approach

11:30 [digital] Charissa Granger (University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago): Sounding Out Decolonially: Politics of Love in Steelband

12:00 lunch break

14:00 – 16:00 Virtual Roundtable [link tba.]

Shanti Suki Osman (University of Oldenburg): Moderation

Alexander Douglas (British Forum for Ethnomusicology): Wokeness and Theoretical Calumny in Music Studies

Ana Hofman (Slovenian Academy of Science and Arts, Ljubljana): Decolonising Europe in the Neoliberal Fringe. Affects, Bodies, Sounds

Shzr Ee Tan (Royal Holloway, University of London): Decolonising Music: Culture Wars, Wilful Misunderstandings, Brave Spaces and Good Conversations

16:30 – 17:30 Departmental Group Meeting Ethnomusicology and Comparative Musicology (Lecture Hall 4.001, Lennéstraße 6)

  • Michael Fuhr (CWM)
  • Cornelia Gruber (University Vienna)
  • Thomas Hilder (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim)
  • Stefanie Alisch (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
  • Lisa Gaupp (Leuphana-Universität Lüneburg)
  • Eckehard Pistrick (Universität zu Köln)
  • Charissa Granger (University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago)
  • Shanti Suki Osman (University of Oldenburg)
  • Alexander Douglas (British Forum for Ethnomusicology)
  • Ana Hofman (Slovenian Academy of Science and Arts, Ljubljana)
  • Shzr Ee Tan (Royal Holloway, University of London)
Organiser / Cooperations
Participation / Contact

Please register here for participation in the symposium (also for the online parts). 


A prerequisite for participation on site will be either proof of

● a complete vaccination,

● recovery from Covid 19 disease within the last 6 months prior to the start of the congress, or

● a valid negative test.

We will provide information on the additional hygiene measures required in accordance with the regulations then in force.

The congress fee is staggered as follows:




  (until 31st Aug.)  

Late bird

(until 1st Oct.)



  60 €

 70 €

non GfM-members


  70 €

 80 €

GfM-members (reduced)


  30 €

 40 €

nont GfM-members (reduced)


  40 €

 50 €

Students    10 €  10 €

Students and unemployed persons are considered as reduced. Proof by student certificate or unemployment certificate (file upload required). If you would like to participate online but cannot pay the congress fee, please contact us ( We will try to make (partial) financing possible.



Widening Aesthetic Discourse - Postcolonial and Global Perspectives

Online Roundtable Discussions

Oct 29th, Nov 19th, Dec 03rd 2020, 4 - 6pm (Central European Winter Time)
Please contact GRK2477(at) for participation

DFG Research Training Group “Aesthetic Practice”, DFG Koselleck Project “Histories of Philosophy in a Global Perspective”, Center for World Music


Over the past decades, postcolonial and global perspectives have significantly widened and re-arranged aesthetic discourses. Cultural and philosophical theory is trying to keep pace with aesthetic practices, that have ceased to obey Eurocentric constrictions long ago. Thereby, a postcolonial view carries the potential not only for a re-reading of the history of aesthetic practices. It also brings the political dimension of aesthetic practice and theory of aesthetics in the present to the fore. Based on postcolonial perspectivation, different layers and aspects of globalized discourses on art and aesthetics can be made accessible in novel ways.
These questions are addressed from different angles in three online roundtable discussions: Michaela Ott and Ivo Ritzer will discuss “dividuation” and “composite cultures” from the point of view of Africa-focused media studies. Monica Juneja and Christian Utz will talk about the possibility of a global history and historiography of visual arts and music. Simon Gikandi and Ruth Sonderegger will engage in an intellectual exchange on the connectedness of colonialism and the emergence of aesthetic discourses in 17th- and 18th-century Europe.

Oct 29th: Postkoloniale Konstellationen in den zeitgenössischen Künsten und der Ästhetik / Postcolonial constellations in contemporary arts and aesthetics

Invited Guests: Michaela Ott (Professor of Aesthetic Theories, Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg) and Ivo Ritzer (Junior Professor of Media in Africa, University of Bayreuth)

Nov 19th: Globalization of art history and music history in the course of the 20th century

Invited Guests: Monica Juneja (Professor of Global Art History, University of Heidelberg) and Christian Utz (Professor of Music Theory / Music Analysis at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz)

Dec 3rd: Colonialism and aesthetics

Invited Guests: Simon Gikandi (Robert Schirmer Professor of English, Princeton University) and Ruth Sonderegger (Professor of Philosophy and Aesthetic Theory, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna)


In cooperation with DFG Research Training Group “Aesthetic Practice”, DFG Koselleck Project “Histories of Philosophy in a Global Perspective”