Musicology Colloquium: Dr. Tamara Levitz, UCLA
PLEASE NOTE LOCATION CHANGE TO EAST PYNE HALL, ROOM 010.
Co-sponsored by the Department of Comparative Literature and Program in American Studies.
Decolonizing the American Musicological Society III: The Legacy of Settler Colonialism.
Tamara Levitz, Professor of Comparative Literature and Musicology, UCLA
A vital global discussion about decolonizing education became reinvigorated last year through the Rhodes Must Fall and Fees Must Fall student protest movements in South Africa. Reflecting on these protests, Nelson Maldonando-Torres has outlined “Ten Theses on Coloniality and Decoloniality,” in which he clarifies the distinction between “colonization” as something that occurred in the past, and what Anibal Quijano famously described as the “coloniality of power” or world systems of hierarchies, knowledge, and culture established with European colonization, and persisting to the present day. To decolonize, Maldonando-Torres explains, is to develop a “decolonial attitude.” “If coloniality refers to a logic, metaphysics, ontology, and a matrix of power that can continue existing after formal independence and desegregation,” he explains, “decoloniality refers to efforts at rehumanizing the world, to breaking hierarchies of difference that dehumanize subjects and communities and that destroy nature, and to the production of counter-discourses, counter-knowledges, counter-creative acts, and counter-practices that seek to dismantle coloniality and to open up multiple other forms of being in the world.”
In this lecture, Prof. Levitz examines one significant historical case of how the “coloniality of power,” operates in the American Musicological Society. Mindful of the injustice that occurs when the term “decolonization” is used as a metaphor or made into a “metonym for social justice,” rather than in relation to the repatriation of Indigenous land and life, she focuses on the roots of U.S. musicological practice in settler colonialism. Prof. Levitz examines methodological and geopolitical approaches to the study of Native American music in the American Society for Comparative Musicology, and what happened to such approaches, and systems of knowledge in musicology in the U.S, when this society broke off from the American Musicological Society in the 1930s. Her goal in offering this historical analysis is to illuminate the “coloniality of power” operating in the society, and the urgent need for decolonization.
Tamara Levitz is a musicologist from Montréal, Canada who currently holds a position as Professor of Musicology at UCLA in Los Angeles, California. She has published widely on musical modernism in Germany, Cuba, Senegal, and France in the 1920s and 30s. Combining extensive archival research with acute critical interpretation, Tamara explores in her work the artistic intentions, complex motivations, sexual and gender identifications, and intricate social relations of musicians, composers, critics, ethnographers, performers, and audiences involved in historical events of musical performance.
Much of her work has focused on renowned artists, including Ferruccio Busoni, John Cage, Igor Stravinsky, and André Gide. She recently completed the monograph Modernist Mysteries: Perséphone (Oxford, 2012), in which she presents a microhistorical analysis of the premiere by Ida Rubinstein of André Gide's and Igor Stravinsky's melodrama Perséphone on 30 April 1934.
Tamara Levitz is currently the scholar in residence for the Bard Festival on "Stravinsky and His World," and is editing a volume of the same name to be published by Princeton University Press to coincide with the festival in August 2013.
Date/Time: 03/30/17 at 4:30 pm - 03/30/17 at 5:30 pm
Category: Colloquium Series