MI week 9

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Ashura' and Muharram, continued.

Current events - Ashura:

Ashura 2015: Shiite Muslims Mark Martyrdom Of Imam Hussein

NYTimes: ISIS Claims Responsibility for Attack in Bangladesh

Tuesday (9a)

As attendance was so low last week, I'm repeating last Thursday's topic for Tuesday. Please email me to let me know which paper you're presenting. In your presentation you need not summarize the whole paper. Rather trace the scope and main argument, including AV examples if you can find them. Then offer your critique: does the argument work? Where is the author coming from? How is the writing shaped by a particular cultural background, education, or political stance? Is there a hidden agenda? What are its limitations? How does it align with other works you've read in this course? (Don't worry if you don't have much to say in the way of critique - just do your best to think critically!)

If you didn't submit this assignment already please submit using 8b on eClass (along with your paper outline if you didn't submit it already). There is no new assignment for 9a.

NB: I've added some listening material for Regula Qureshi's article, from her own fieldwork in 1969. If you're musically trained you should be able to figure out which examples she's transcribed in the article.


(these were due last Thursday ; please just get them in as soon as you can)

A) Research paper outline and initial bibliography (submit using associated link. Note that this time you'll upload your document.)

B) Reading and Discussions: Everyone pick one of the following papers to present on Thursday; write a one-page summary and critique of the article. What is it about? What are its conclusions? What do you think of these conclusions - can you see any limits, hidden assumptions, in the author's analysis? Try to locate online media (youtube, etc.) relevant to this paper and include the URLs in your submission. Submit using eClass under 8b. Be ready to present, discuss, and critique your article in class! If more than one person picks the same article we'll have the benefit of multiple "takes" on the same piece, which will be interesting to compare. If you can find any online media relevant to your reading, please bring the link and we can watch/listen together.

Here are your choices: (more than one person can do the same article)...

1) "Embodiment and Ambivalence: Emotion in South Asian Muharram Drumming" Richard K. Wolf. Source: Yearbook for Traditional Music, Vol. 32 (2000), pp. 81-116. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3185244 .

2) "Islamic Music in an Indian Environment: The Shi'a Majlis" Regula Burckhardt Qureshi Ethnomusicology Vol. 25, No. 1 (Jan., 1981), pp. 41-71 Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/850974 NB: Listen to these genres from field recordings by Regula Qureshi; see also the track listing.

3) "Performative elements of Shi'ite ritual and mass mobilization: The case of Iran" (Hamidreza) Heidar G. Azodanloo

(scroll down to find the article)

4) "Shia Lamentation Rituals and Reinterpretations of the Doctrine of Intercession: Two Cases from Modern India" David Pinault Source: History of Religions, Vol. 38, No. 3 (Feb., 1999), pp. 285-305 Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3176355 (Jeremy)


Student presentations (including videos), critiques, and discussions.

Short documentary on the ta`ziyeh, literally "mourning" or passion play, a musical dramatic reenactment of Karbala. Note similarity of voice to that of classical Persian music, as in this avaz from Iran's most famous singer Mohammad-Reza Shajarian; this vocal style also reappears in an adhan from Ardabil, Iran, thus illustrating the way the sonic aspect of language performance tends to localize, while Islamic themes and even texts are carried far and wide. Such passion plays are even performed in the North American diaspora, e.g. Detroit.

Ashura even enters the world of contemporary popular culture as in this music video Ashura by Iranian pop singer and composer Ali AbdolMaleki.

Examples from Regula Qureshi's article on the Shia Majlis.

We may also watch excerpt's from Prof. Federico Spinetti's acclaimed documentary, "Zurkhaneh: The House of Strength"

Thursday (9b)

Music, ritual diversity, and conflict at Islam's periphery: the case of Ghana


Please submit your research paper outline and initial bibliography by today (submit using associated eClass link in Week 8. Note that this time you'll upload your document.) This is very important, because I want to give you feedback before you get too far in your research, and definitely before Reading Week.

No other new assignments.  :)

Optional: If you have time you may like to watch Prof. Federico Spinetti's excellent documentary, "Zurkhaneh: The House of Strength"

What goes in the research paper outline?

Your outline should include your research proposal from week 5, revised according to my feedback and your subsequent thinking — in some cases people gave me proposals that were too broad and needed focus; in other cases the topic wasn’t feasible for other reasons. So please rethink and rewrite that part - it’s just a page; from the description in week 5:

Short research proposal (1 page) on a relevant topic of your choice within the frame of the course, i.e. either (a) Islamic Language Performance, or (b) Islamicate music. Please include the following (a) a title indicating the topic and scope; (b) a paragraph documenting the aim and significance of your research project - what are the primary questions you seek to answer?; (c) a paragraph of background information, in which you should refer to a few secondary sources. Note that the research should be based primarily on scholarly secondary sources (but not encyclopedias!), combined with online primary sources, such as websites or youtube videos. Submit via eclass ("One page research proposal").

To this proposal please add a short (1 paragraph) research methodology: how are you going to answer the questions posed? Everyone will draw on scholarly secondary sources/references. What and where are they? How will you find, read, and assess them? Will you also make use of primary sources, including popular online material such as videos or magazines or Facebook pages, or tracts and pamphlets written from an insider perspective, or images, or songs/recitations that you collect from various places? It might be interesting to include such primary sources though you don’t have to. If special language skills are required, how will you manage that requirement?

Next: outline your paper - what are the sections? How can you organize your argument? You don’t have to include lots of detail - just the main headings (I, II, III, etc.).

This much is probably 2-3 pages max.

Finally, add a bibliography. Many of your sources and references will be mentioned in passing while explicating the proposal, background, and methodology. To those you can add whatever else you’ve found so far. It doesn’t have to be complete - the exploration will continue. But show me what you’ve found. Remember to use sources to find other sources (using their bibliographies, or checking on who cites them). Again: please do not include “tertiary” sources (encyclopedia entries) and definitely no wikipedia! But you can use such resources to find secondary sources, so they’re undoubtedly useful.

  • NB: Be sure to cite all references using the (author year:pages) format, and list all references cited at the end of your paper. I strongly suggest use of a bibliographic database tool to assist in organizing sources and recommend Zotero (zotero.org)  ; another possibility is "Refworks. Both are free and are huge time-savers - you can grab bibliographic information from jstor, Amazon, or worldcat - even youtube videos or arbitrary web pages - with ease. You can insert citations, properly formatted, into your writing as you go. And you can generate and regenerate bibliographies without having to worry about reformatting them.


I will introduce today's topic in-class.