Collaborative discography objectives

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  1. Publish a multi-author review essay in an upcoming issue of the Middle East Studies Association Bulletin.
  2. Provide a resource for ME studies survey courses. Most ME scholars subscribe to the bulletin, which often contains resource material for teaching. Thanks to Bulletin associate editors for music, past and present (Virginia Danielson, Anne Rasmussen, Michael Frishkopf), music has achieved a much higher profile in the Bulletin, and many ME studies teachers (mainly specialists in language, literature, history, poli sci, and religion, focusing on text) are eager to incorporate music into their courses. Past articles certainly point the way. But the current project is slightly different: we aim to provide a synopsis of musical areas and suggest readily-available scholarly recordings, in a single essay.
  3. Achieve broad (not comprehensive) coverage. We’re not trying to create an encyclopedia, but only trying to provide a broad spectrum of types, a sampler, including core areas (North Africa, Arab ME, Turkey, and Iran). Other areas often touched upon when surveying cultures and history of the ME can also be considered: Islamic West and East Africa, Central Asia, ex-Ottoman domains...
  4. Suggest readily available CDs (e.g. only what can be purchased via Amazon or other major suppliers, not local or out of print productions). If the music isn’t accessible, there’s little practical point to reviewing or recommending it. Ideally, such CDs should be “scholarly” (prepared with an eye to ethnography, including comprehensive notes), but as we all know such CDs are unfortunately scarce.

I hope that this project not only proves to be useful for ME studies, but also as an experiment in collaborative academic writing (rather rare in the humanities at least), in which a dozen or more authors will contribute a paragraph or two each.