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  4. Anna Morcom (Royal Holloway, University of London): Perspectives and approaches to studying music and capitalism

Oct

28

Wednesday

Anna Morcom (Royal Holloway, University of London): Perspectives and approaches to studying music and capitalism

5.30pm

Seminars

Public

All welcome

Speaker: Anna Morcom (Royal Holloway, University of London): Perspectives and approaches to studying music and capitalism

Series: Department of Music Research Seminar Series

Location: Room AG09 (Ground Floor), College Building

In this talk, I explore a number of ways of looking at the relationship of music and capitalism, aiming to demonstrate the vast breadth and complexity of capitalism as an agent of change and as an analytical frame for studying music. I draw on examples from my own research in India, Tibet and exile Tibet, as well as other phenomena.

Using theoretical approaches from the world system’s school, I examine how we can see capitalism’s ‘advance’ on musical cultures and styles, but at the same time, more uneven relationships of music with capital accumulation. This is due to technological changes, which have brought about profound shifts in the location of, in particular, recorded music in global capitalism. In addition, music may be used as much as a means to display surpluses of capitalism, transforming them into visible and tangible power, as a means to create profit.

I explore ways in which we can situate capitalism, and its advance, alongside other logics of value and exchange in musical cultures. These approaches avoid utopian or dystopian views of music as resistance from capitalism or an escape from it; or, on the other hand, as have been ‘taken over’ by it. They rather explore the complexities of money, power, and music making, looking at music from perspectives of economic history and economic anthropology.

Anna Morcom completed a PhD on Hindi film songs at SOAS in 2002. She has published three books on music and performing arts of India and Tibet: Unity and discord: Music and politics in contemporary Tibet (2004, Tibet Information Network); Hindi film songs and the cinema (2007, Ashgate); and Illicit worlds of Indian dance: Cultures of exclusion (2013, C. Hurst and Co; OUP New York); and articles in a range of journals.

Illicit worlds of Indian dance was awarded the Alan Merriam prize of the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM), and the Marcia Herndon prize of the Gender and Sexualities section of SEM. Her latest research is focused on the economic anthropology and history of music. She is Reader in the Music Department at Royal Holloway, University of London.

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When & where

5.30pm - 7.30pmWednesday 28th October 2015

AG09 College Building City, University of London St John Street London EC1V 4PB United Kingdom