7th February, 2014 / 11.00am - 4.00pm
29th January, 2014
An Inaugural Lecture by Professor Martin Stokes
We are used to understanding music as an expression of love. We are also used to understanding music in the context of claims for social justice, in protests and social movements. But we are not used to connecting the two, and this reflects a broader drift in the western understanding of love in terms of the couple form and highly bounded, and self-regarding, forms of intimacy and compassion. ‘Sentimentality’ is the term often used for musical expressions of intimacy and compassion on the small scale, expressions that, critics feel, fail to articulate the broader visions of society required for effective social justice. One might, though, think in other ways about the scale of emotions in music, their distribution and their translation across social and cultural space. So this lecture proposes an alternative, with regard to a handful of genres, worldwide, which have troubled their critics for their representations of impossible love, their excessive melancholy, and their failure to be properly political.
Martin Stokes is an ethnomusicologist with a particular interest in the Middle East, and questions about emotions, identities, and the politics of music. He studied first music, then social anthropology at Oxford University. He held a lectureship at the Queen’s University of Belfast (1989-1997) in the Department of Social Anthropology, and an associate professorship in Music at The College at the University of Chicago (1997-2007), where he was also Director of the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies. In 2007 he took up a University Lectureship at Oxford, and a Fellowship at St. John’s College. In 2012 he was appointed King Edward Professor of Music at King’s College London. His most recent book, The Republic of Love: Cultural Intimacy in Turkish Popular Music, published by the University of Chicago Press in 2013, won the Merriam Prize from the Society for Ethnomusicology. He was awarded the Dent Medal by the Royal Musical Association in 2010, and was appointed Fellow of the British Academy in 2013.
For more information please visit Matters of Love and Justice in Music.