Situated in the context of current examinations of academic disciplinarity, this article contributes to the decades-long discussions (or debates) regarding the status of ethnomusicology, arguing forcefully for the (sub-)discipline’s cessation. A focus on ethnomusicology’s very prefix, “ethn-”, exposes the field’s historical and continuing reliance upon colonialist ideology, continually reproduced in relation to both ethnicity (constructed in relation to interrelated discourses of authenticity, technology, and gender) and ethnography. Highlighting the extent to which a field-defining ideological-methodological matrix has led to the production of a theoretical narrowness predicated upon and engendering the construction of “Others,” it is commitment to inter-, trans-, or post-disciplinarity (rather than disciplinary dogmatism) that is shown to promise a vital and relevant space for explorations of sound and music within current and future university spaces. Ultimately, given the inherent restrictions and limitations suggested by prefixes or qualifiers of any sort, it is the appellation musicology that may best serve as a (provisional) marker for interdisciplinary inquiry, its very re-appropriation (from its own historical circumscriptions) serving as an act rife with symbolic significance.
“We Are All Musicologists Now”; or, the End of Ethnomusicology
Stephen Amico is associate professor of music at the Grieg Academy, University of Bergen, Norway. He has published widely in the areas of popular music, post-Soviet culture, and gender and sexuality, including the book Roll Over, Tchaikovsky! Russian Popular Music and Post-Soviet Homosexuality (University of Illinois Press, 2014). A previous recipient of a NIAS (Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies) Fellowship, he is currently at work on a monograph exploring female vocality and voice in Russian-language popular music.
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Stephen Amico; “We Are All Musicologists Now”; or, the End of Ethnomusicology. Journal of Musicology 1 January 2020; 37 (1): 1–32. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/jm.2020.37.1.1
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