Northwestern Events Calendar


Anthropology Colloquium, Matt Sakakeeny, Associate Professor, Tulane University

When: Monday, January 27, 2020
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM Central

Where: 1810 Hinman Avenue, 104, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Nancy Hickey   (847) 467-1507

Group: Anthropology Colloquia and Events

Co-Sponsor: Anthropology Department

Category: Lectures & Meetings


“Listening Against the Vernacular: Music and Language Socialization in New Orleans.”

New Orleans is celebrated as an extraordinary site of race- and place-based musical culture, which many researchers have explained using the linguistic metaphor of "the black vernacular.” Despite the intent of praising historically devalued traditions of black performance, recourse to the notion of an inherited musical “dialect” is deeply problematic in that in relies upon a separation between the vernacular and the cultivated. It is also wildly inaccurate, as the majority of black New Orleanians who work as professional musicians received formal music education and are musically literate. This presentation borrows another concept from linguistics - socialization - to show how young people in New Orleans today acquire musical knowledge via a variety of sources. Through an ethnographic study of music socialization at an afterschool program, I analyze the remarkably complex set of skills necessary to perform New Orleans music competently. This research extends linguistic study beyond speech acts to include other sonic practices with other measures of communicative competence. 

This event is co-sponsored by the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities
This event is co-sponsored by the Bienen School of Music Program in Musicology

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