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“Music at the Limits of Political Efficacy,” Dr. Matt Sakakeeny | UMRF 23-24

February 23 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

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“Music at the Limits of Political Efficacy”
Dr. Matt Sakakeeny, Tulane University and the National Humanities Center

Matt SakakeenyThis talk identifies four principal themes that arose from a “political turn” in music studies at the turn of the twenty-first century: dissent, identity, affect, and state governance. Attention to these themes coincided with increasing “depoliticization”: as institutional politics became more bureaucratized and disengaged from traditional forms of political organization and participation, scholars of music and sound affirmed their potential for political engagement and possibility. My ethnographic study of an afterschool program in New Orleans illustrates the “cruel optimism” of entrusting music to mitigate the perilousness and insecurity of contemporary life. Black students, parents, and teachers pin their hopes on music to provide a livable future, in language similar to the affirmative politics pervading music studies. But their experiences with economic insecurity, violent crime, policing and incarceration, education reform, and environmental hazards underscore the limits of music to solve political problems.

The UNC Music Research Forum hosts invited lectures by distinguished music scholars from around the world and informal research presentations by members of our department and colleagues across campus. It serves as an intellectual hub for the department and is open to all. The Forum is held on the final Friday of each month during the semester from 2-4 p.m. in Person Recital Hall.


February 23
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
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Person Hall
181 E Cameron Ave
Chapel Hill, NC 27514 United States
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