Mason, Kaley

Kaley’s year began in October with a rare intersection of francophone and anglophone ethnomusicologists at the Université de Montréal for the international conference, Musical Heritage: Movement and Contacts. Together with Ritwik Banerji and MAPH graduate, Kristina Wood, he participated on a panel that represented a neighborhood audio mapping initiative organized by youth outreach coordinators and ethnomusicology graduate students over the winter and spring quarters of 2009. Supported by the University of Chicago Arts Council and the Committee on Southern Asian Studies, the project involved mentoring local youths who live near the Indo-American Center in Chicago to create an alternative sound map featuring oral histories, acoustic environments, and performances on Devon Avenue. Toward the end of the winter quarter he was fortunate to have another opportunity to visit Canada for an international meeting. This time he was one of a select group of scholars from India and North America invited to present at a workshop held at the University of Alberta on the topic of Indian women performers as agents of change. Oxford India has already expressed interest in publishing a volume based on the exchange of ideas that began in March. Another highlight of the year included participating on a panel of position papers with colleagues at the Music/Race/Empire conference hosted at the University of Chicago in April. Lastly, he also had the privilege of organizing a roundtable with alumni of the College in late May. The event gave undergraduate music majors and minors a chance to ask former music majors about careers in the arts and graduate programs in music. Over the summer Kaley returned to India on a Norman Cutler Travel grant for a five–week period of fieldwork before settling in as a faculty fellow at the Franke Institute for the Humanities. He is currently working on a book project provisionally titled The Labor of Music: Performing Cultural Dignity from Sacred Grove to Global Stage. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in Kerala, South India, the book traces how a musician caste merged feudal traditions of ritual servitude with modern practices of work and mobility in response to new modes of patronage.

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