Middle East and Central Asia Music Forum

Friday 13th May 2016, 9.45am-6pm

‘Soundspaces of the Middle East and Central Asia: Exploring the Intersection of Sound Studies and Ethnomusicology in the Middle East and Central Asia’

Convened by the Music Department at City University London in conjunction with the Institute of Musical Research

Venue: City University London, Music Department, Room AG09, College Building, St John Street, London EC1V 4BP

All welcome and admission is free but advance registration is requested for planning purposes.


Provisional Schedule

9.45am                  Welcome 

Session 1, 9.50am – 11.30am

Meri Kyto (University of Tampere, Finland): ‘Negotiating the Acoustic Community: A sonic ethnography of a housing cooperative in Istanbul’

Ruard Absaroka (SOAS) ‘ Sounding Islam in Chinese Central Asia: Methodologies and perspectives’

and Rachel Harris (SOAS): ‘Islamic Extremism, Song and Dance, and Sonic Territoriality: Contesting the Xinjiang Soundscape’

11.30-11.50                  Tea/Coffee

Session 2, 11.50 – 1.10pm

Rachel Beckles Willson (Royal Holloway, University London) ‘Beyond “isolation wrapped in layers of silence”: when an oud is a place that narrates. [This paper will include extracts from Telling Strings, a documentary film by Anne-Marie Haller (2007) featuring Palestinian musician Kamilya Jubran.]

Abigail Wood (University of Haifa): ‘The Cantor and the Muezzin’s Duet at the Western Wall: contesting sound spaces on the frayed seams of the Israel-Palestine conflict’

Lunch (not provided)     

Session 3, 2.15pm – 4.15pm

ROUNDTABLE: Exploring the Intersection of Sound Studies and Ethnomusicology in the Middle East and Central Asia: Opportunities and Challenges

Seth Ayyaz (City University London)

Aaron Einbond (City University London)

Jason Stanyek (University of Oxford)

Elizabeth Tolbert (Johns Hopkins University)

Abigail Wood (University of Haifa)

4.15-4.30pm            Tea/Coffee

Session 4, 4.30-6.30pm


Seth Ayyaz (City University London): ‘On The Admissibility of Sound’: dual processes, a triple helix and three speculations on the Islamic sonic-social’

Stefan Williamson Fa (UCL): ‘Loudspeakers and Chains: public ritual and Shi’i soundscapes in Northeastern Anatolia’

Mohsen Shahrnazdar (Tehran Soundscapes project) title tbc

We are also hoping to including a screening of the film ‘Telling Strings’ (Anne-Marie Heller, Switzerland, 2007), during the day.

The Middle East and Central Asia Music forum has been running since 2007 and is open to researchers, students and anyone interested in the music and culture of the region. In the spirit of fostering dialogue and interdisciplinarity, we hope that the issues discussed at the forum will be of interest to a broad audience, including musicologists, ethnomusicologists and other researchers in the arts, humanities and social sciences. In addition, we welcome those working on other aspects of Middle Eastern and Central Asian culture broadly speaking (dance, visual arts, media, film, literature, etc.)

The Forum is convened by Dr Laudan Nooshin, City University London (l.nooshin@city.ac.uk) and Dr Rachel Harris, SOAS (rh@soas.ac.uk)