Call for Papers - Music and Dance Research in East Africa

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Recognition of the important place music and dance occupy in most African societies is that of a long date, and so has research on music and dance on the continent been developing since the mid 1970s. In East Africa, the seminal works of T. Ranger (1975) and P. Spencer (1985) have opened up an arena for scholarly investigation and reflection on music and dance, yet the place of such studies within the academic community has often been undervalued. As some authors pursued and developed questions on competitive music traditions in East Africa (Gearhart, 2005; Gunderson &Barz (ed.), 2000), others focused on issues of nation building and national identity (Askew, 2002;
Edmondson, 2001). A number of researchers worked on popular music and dance genres in East Africa (Barz, 2001; Nyairo & Ogude, 2003; Sanga, 2013), others investigated on traditional musical forms (SenogaZake,1986; Darkwa, 1991; Nyakiti, 1997), as some tackled the sensitive issues of gender in music and dance performances (Fair, 1996; NannyongaTamusuza, 2005), etc.1 In order to affirm the importance of academic work on the topic of performing arts and the benefits of such work,The French Institute for Research in Africa (IFRA Nairobi) and the Technical University of Kenya (TUK), organizea regionalconferencewith the goal of assembling researchers, students,artists and others interested in music and dance research in the region.This event is to act as a forum for discussion and ideas exchange,to facilitate networking between researchers in the region, aswell as to encourage young scholars and students in the field. The general framework for the conference isthe inclusion of music and/or dance in the widely studied topics in social sciences, including the construction of the state, national and ethnic identities, regional integration, political and social activism, heritage creation and preservation, cultural tourism and development studies, gender and generational issues, etc. We also hope to offer a platform for presentations and discussions on innovative research topics and new tendencies in East African academic community.

We therefore call for papers and contributions which critically interrogate issues concerning the
creation (composition and choreography), tradition, innovation, and appropriation in music and
dance. Researchers from the region and elsewhere are invited to reflect on the following and other

  • Ethnic, regional and national identity issues and their expression in music and dance;
  • Music and dance heritage, defined as aprocess under construction and the key actors of that
    process on different levels (local, national and international);
    Property and appropriation in “indigenous” music and dances;
  • Historical and contemporary power relations within the music and dance milieu;
  • Studies of cultural policies from the music and dance point of view;
  • Activism and social development through performing arts;
  • Gender and generational issues expressed in music and dance;
  • Transmission of knowledge and music education;
  • The role of the media and the archive in generating visibility and invisibility for music and
  • Methodological issues in music and dance research.

Contributions from all social sciences, as well as interdisciplinary approaches are welcomed, with an
openness to applied ethnomusicology and practitioners’ reflections on their own music and/or
dance practice.

This conference will lead to a publication (journal or book), while it’s long term objectives are the
establishment of a permanent research group on musical and kinesthetic practices (and on
performance) in East Africa, as well as the initiation ofa FrancoKenyan culturalresearch network.

For participation, please submit your abstract (300 words + 5 key words and bibliography) together
with the presentation’s title, your name, title (e.g., Ms., Dr., Prof.) and institutional affiliation via
email to the conference coordinator Miss Kiiru at by April 30th 2016.

All applicants will receive a conference response notice by May 16th 2016. If accepted to present at
the conference, they must submit their full paper by September 1st2016 (3000 words maximum).

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