Feb 242014

The Contesting Freedoms: A Colloquium on post-1994 music studies conference will be held at the Unisa Main Campus in Pretoria on 27 and 28 March. South Africa celebrates twenty years of democracy in 2014, and this is an appropriate time for discussion and reflection on the complex new challenges that have emerged in the field of music studies since 1994. These are the result of many changes, including institutional realignments and mergers, the revision of curricula to reflect the democracy and cultural diversity, new key agendas in ethnomusicology and musicology, the emergence of scholarship that is self-reflexive and responsive to contexts of reception and production, a rethinking of issues of ethnicity and indigenization, the foregrounding of identity politics, and reflections on the nature of the responsibilities and roles as creators and scholars.



There have also been repeated calls for the study of the music itself, the preservation of the conservatory cultural system, and the need to respect the autonomy and control of institutions and individuals. These diverse and often contrasting positions have resulted in a series of conflicts and controversies both internal to institutions and evident at educational forums, published work and conferences. This colloquium reflects on the ways in which these freedoms and tensions are negotiated in current music studies. Presentations were invited on the following themes:

  • The challenges, development and process of transformation at South African music departments
  • Transparency and accountability in higher education in music
  • Africanization and the identification of indigenous knowledge systems
  • Musical autonomy and the music itself
  • Institutionalized power and authoritarianism
  • Intimidation, censorship and academic freedom
  • Academic integrity and ethics
  • Critical musicology and the role of critique
  • The role of interdisciplinary music studies
  • Technology and the reshaping of the academic landscape

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Image Source : Brandon Giesbrecht