Conversation: Music in Conflict

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Event Date: 
March 9, 2017 - 4:00pm
IPRH Lecture Hall, Levis Faculty Center, Fourth Floor
919 West Illinois Street, Urbana, IL

Conversation: Music in Conflict

A conversation between anthropologist Ted Swedenburg and IPRH Mellon postdoctoral fellow Nili Belkind that will center on musical practices in conflict zones, with a focus on Palestine-Israel. Through specific ethnographic examples, the discussion will explore the ways in which geographical borders and social and ethnic boundaries shape personal geographies, cultural expression and the making of communities in a context of ongoing violence.

Sponsored by IPRH, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


Dr. Nili Belkind is the IPRH-Andrew W. Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Humanities. She grew up in Israel but spent her adult life in the United States. She spent many years working in the music industry as an album producer, A & R, record label executive and artists manager specializing in world music. After many years in the music industry she returned to school (Columbia University) to pursue a PhD in ethnomusicology. Much of her work in the music industry centered on Caribbean music genres, and her MA thesis focused on the lives and musics of prominent Haitian artists in diaspora. Her PhD dissertation is an ethnography of music making and its cultural meanings in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on 18 months of fieldwork. The dissertation highlights musical renderings of discourses of co-existence, discourses of resistance and projects of nation making. It also explores forms of expressive culture that ‘live’ in the blurry boundaries and borderzones where fixed ethno-national categories align with neither physical spaces nor individual identities. As a post-doctoral fellow with “Daat-Hamakom” (ICORE), Dr. Belkind conducted ethnographic research on music and the politics of ethnicity, nation and place making in the adjacent towns of Jaffa and Bat Yam for a chapter in a book publication.

Dr. Ted Swedenburg received his Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Texas in 1988. His dissertation, a study of popular memories of the 1936-39 revolt in Palestine, involved interviewing elderly peasants living in Palestinian villages in the Galilee and the West Bank. He taught at the University of Washington -Seattle between 1988 and 1991, and at the American University in Cairo from 1992 to 1996. He joined the University of Arkansas in 1996. Dr. Swedenburg's recent research focuses on popular music.

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