An edited collection about the roles music plays in public commemoration of traumatic events
Public commemorations of various kinds are an important part of how groups large and small acknowledge and process injustices and tragic events. Performing Commemoration: Musical Reenactment and the Politics of Trauma looks at the roles music can play in public commemorations of traumatic events that range from the Armenian genocide and World War I to contemporary violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the #sayhername protests. Whose version of a traumatic historical event gets told is always a complicated question, and music adds further layers to this complexity, particularly music without words. The three sections of this collection look at different facets of musical commemorations and reenactments, focusing on how music can mediate, but also intensify responses to social injustice; how reenactments and their use of music are shifting (and not always toward greater social effectiveness); and how claims for musical authenticity are politicized in various ways. By engaging with critical theory around memory studies and performance studies, the contributors to this volume explore social justice, in, and through music.
Annegret Fauser is Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Michael A. Figueroa is Assistant Professor of Music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
“Performing Commemoration offers valuable contemporary research into music and commemoration, conflict, and social justice, topics that are timely in ethnomusicology and related disciplines. The breadth of subject matter, wide range of research sites, engagement with current theoretical priorities and the concentration on music and trauma and conflict demonstrate the roles that music plays in human resiliency, memorialization and the ongoing need for social justice.”- Anna Hoefnagels
—Anna Hoefnagels, Carleton University