Introduction: Reflections on the Past, Present and Future of Popular Music Scholarship
Keywords:ethnomusicology, popular music studies, popular culture studies, organizational history, activist scholarship
In 2018, the Popular Music Section of the Society for Ethnomusicology organized a roundtable that explored the development of popular music scholarship, not only within ethnomusicology but also in relation to the larger field of popular music studies. This special section, which includes transcriptions of each of the panelists’ spoken remarks, highlights reflections from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds (including folklore and ethnomusicology, anthropology, American studies and history, and popular culture studies) and experiences (both within academia and in the public sector). The roundtable participants recognize the value and impact of scholarship on popular music and culture, for it contributes to our understanding of the powerful and meaningful ways in which people engage aesthetically with the world around them. By reflecting on the past and present context of popular music scholarship, the panelists offer suggestions for the future growth of the field, underscoring its role in challenging elitist and ethnocentric biases, contesting the institutional marginalization and dismissal of popular culture, fostering interdisciplinary conversations, and engaging in activist scholarship that exposes, critiques and helps to change structural inequities.
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Dawes, Kevin. 2015. “The Many Worlds of Popular Music: Ethnomusicological Approaches”. In The SAGE Handbook of Popular Music, edited by Andy Bennett and Steve Waksman, 15–32. London: SAGE Publications. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781473910362.n1
Slobin, Mark. 2003. “Ethnomusicology”. In Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Volume 1: Media, Industry, Society, edited by John Shepherd, David Horn, Dave Laing, Paul Oliver and Peter Wicke, 72–74. London: Continuum.
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