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Distinguished Lecture Series 2016-2017


“Acoustic Environment of National Parks”

Scott McFarland, Regional Resource Specialist and Biologist with the Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division of the National Park Service

This lecture will cover acoustic resource management and protection within National Park Service managed lands and beyond. Topics addressed include: methods and techniques for conducting acoustic monitoring, acoustic data analysis, protecting the acoustic environment, wildlife vocalizations and impacts to humans and wildlife from anthropogenic noise.

Lecture in conjunction with the graduate seminar, Music, Soundscapes, and the Environment (Sponsored by the Haines Morris Grant and the School of Music)

  • Friday, 2:30 pm, January 21, 2017, Room G22, Natalie L. Haslam Music Center [Flyer: acoustic-environment ]


“Queer as Trad: LGBTQ Musicians, Materiality, and Embodiment in Irish Traditional Music in the United States”

Tes Slominski, Beloit College

What are some of the social and performance practices that constitute “Irish Traditional Music,” and how do these practices intersect with questions of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and race? Using queer and critical race theory as touchstones to frame ethnographic research, I demonstrate that tracing the experiences of LGBTQ Irish traditional musicians allow us to identify points of friction between understandings of embodied music-making and the bodies that make music. These tensions emerge in the materialities of both social and performance practice and exposes contradictions between discourses of fairness, tolerance, and equality on the one hand, and the normativities that shape participation on the other.


“Going Over and Coming Back: Translating Cherokee Epistemologies of Space and Sound for Language Revitalization”

Sara Snyder, Western Carolina University

This talk explores Cherokee indigenous conceptualizations of space and sound through a close analysis of the Cherokee language of the 1846 Cherokee Singing Book. Cherokee terms in the Singing Book encode unique Cherokee epistemologies (or ways of knowing) despite the text being a product of broader social processes that attempted to separate the Cherokee language from traditional modes of knowledge. In this talk, I pair linguistic analysis of concepts from the Singing Book with historical and contemporary ethnographic data to explore how some Cherokee-language speakers conceptualize of music and sound. Using the concept of “commensuration,” I deconstruct some of the assumptions that underlie translation, which is a socio-cultural language process, and demonstrate how the fragments of meaning that persist where commensuration is incomplete allow us to decolonize the archival text and recover Cherokee ways of understanding the world that are not fully equivalent to their English- language source concepts. Finally, I discuss the methodological and conceptual challenges translation and (in)commensuration pose for Cherokee language revitalization efforts.

  • Friday, 2:30 pm, February 17, 2017, Room G22, Natalie L. Haslam Music Center


“Fandom, Violence, and Soccer Chants: The Sonic Potentials of Participatory Sounding-in-Synchrony”

Eduardo Herrera, Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology and Music History at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey

In local Argentine soccer matches one can find anywhere between two hundred to fifty thousand people chanting together, accompanied by large ensembles of percussion and brass instruments. Research has focused on the genealogies of the melodies and the discursive analysis of chant lyrics, but has left unexplored how these chants, as sign-vehicles, become meaningful beyond text and genealogy. Herrera explores the specific potentials that participatory moving and sounding-in-synchrony brings into experience, arguing that public mass participatory singing allows fans to actively partake in a performative social space that establishes a non-hegemonic shared system of meaning. This system, under a logic locally known as aguante [endurance], frames interpretations of heteronormative, patriarchal, homophobic, and sometimes violent values and actions in a positive manner.

  • Friday, 4:30 pm, March 8, 2017, Room G22, Natalie L. Haslam Music Center [Flyer: Herrera]


“Playing in the Dark: What We Can Learn from Girls’ Gamelans in Bali, Indonesia”

Sonja Lynn Downing, Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology at the Conservatory of Music at Lawrence University

The emergence and development of instrumental music groups in Bali just for girls in the last fifteen years is not only overturning long-held male dominance in realms of instrumental performance and ritual, but also illuminates the structures of social and musical collective action within these groups. Highlighting the words of young female musicians and their gamelan teachers, this talk will examine the current challenges the girls face, as well as the benefits they gain through their participation. A focus on the collectivity the girls experience raises important questions for how we can better take advantage of musical ensemble opportunities for social justice purposes.

  • Wednesday, 11:15 am, March 22, 2017, Room G22, Natalie L. Haslam Music Center [Downing Flyer]


Co-sponsored Event with Women, Gender, and Sexuality Interdisciplinary Program

“Being Otherwise, Being Grace Jones: Surface Aesthetics, Disco Commons, and Sensuous Acts of Knowing”

Uri McMillan, Associate Professor of English, UCLA

Uri McMillan is a cultural historian who researches and writes in the interstices between black cultural studies, performance studies, queer theory, and contemporary art. He is the author of Embodied Avatars: Genealogies of Black Feminist Art and Performance. He has published articles on performance art, digital media, hip-hop, photography, and nineteenth-century performance cultures in varied arenas. In addition, he has lectured at art museums, including MoMA PS1 and the Hammer Museum, and published numerous essays on black contemporary art for the studio museum of Harlem. His work has been supported by the Ford Foundation and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation.

  • Wednesday, 2:15 pm, April 12, 2017, Sandra G. Powell Recital Hall, Natalie L. Haslam Music Center [McMillan Flyer]
  • 3:30 pm, Reception in Lobby


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