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Popular Music Section (PMSSEM)
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The Popular Music Section is an intellectual community within the Society for Ethnomusicology whose members share overlapping interests in the study of popular music, both broadly and narrowly defined. Broadly defined, the ethnomusicological study of popular music engages the concrete social activities of musical participants, including mass mediated musics, musics developed on a local level, musics developing outside of established institutional power structures, music emerging in the context of the international industry, musics developing with limited forms of institutionalized pedagogy or orally transmitted musics. Popular music may also be construed in a more narrow fashion, in which case any one of these elements may serve as guiding definition. PMSSEM has an interdisciplinary mission in research, education, and institutional infrastructure. Individuals interested in popular music and the activities of PMSSEM can communicate with each other through the PMSSEM Listserv and actively participate in the organization through numerous committees. (See the PMSSEM website for more information).


Website: http://pmssem.wikidot.com

Current Chair
Jennifer Milioto Matsue
Department of Music
Union College
807 Union St
Schenectady NY 12308
Phone: 518-388-8075
Email: matsuej@union.edu

Incoming Chair: Not Applicable at this time.

Secretary
Kathy Meizel
Bowling Green State University
Email: kmeizel@gmail.com

Dues
Suggested dues: $5 students, $10 faculty, $100 lifetime (Dues are optional)

Mission
1. Introduction. The Popular Music Section of the Society for Ethnomusicology was formed by members of the Society to promote the ethnomusicological study of popular music.

2. Perspective on intellectual community. From its inception, members of PMSSEM have been concerned that the Section be based on principles of flexibility and open-mindedness. While the members of the Section share many common intellectual concerns, political perspectives, methodological approaches and underlying theoretical orientations, the Section's guiding principle is that no single concept dictate the direction of the group or serve as a means of exclusion. In place of a core/periphery model, the Section is predicated on a vision of intellectual community that sees its members as possessing overlapping interests, evolving perspectives and active connections with other institutions and disciplines.

3. Foundational concepts. In the context of this vision, PMSSEM seeks to promote the study of popular music, construed in ways both broad and narrow. Broadly construed, popular music is conceptualized, not as a sharply delineated and objective phenomena, but as a historically and culturally grounded set of intuitions which inform both music research and the concrete social activities of musical participants. Understood in this way, the concept of "popular music" may include, but is not limited to, mass mediated musics, musics developed on a local level, musics developing outside of established institutional power structures, music emerging in the context of the international industry, musics developing with limited forms of institutionalized pedagogy or orally transmitted musics. Popular music may also be construed in a more narrow fashion, in which case any one of these elements may serve as guiding definition. The Section embraces scholars employing any of these approaches.

4. Goals. As a section with the Society for Ethnomusicology, a wide variety of specific programmatic concerns animate our research, teaching and other scholarly endeavors. While not limited to the following list, PMSSEM hope to stimulate developments in the areas.

  • Research. PMSSEM seek to encourage:
    • greater interactions between popular music scholars of different disciplines and the development of new approaches to popular music research beyond disciplinary boundaries.
    • research into Non-Western popular music as well as research into Western popular forms.
    • research into musical practices at all levels of social life--local, regional, national and transnational. We also seek to stimulate research into musical practices that emerge in the interactions between cultures as well as those that occur within relatively stable groups.
    • greater attention to musical sound in popular music research. By the same token, we seek to encourage the examination of relationships between musical sound and social life at various levels.
    • the development of a stronger empirical basis for popular music research, including a greater emphasis on ethnography, oral history and archival research.
  • Education. PMSSEM seek to encourage:
    • greater scholarly examination of pedagogical issues in popular music studies.
    • new methods and techniques for teaching popular music in the classroom.
    • development of educational programming beyond the classroom.
  • Institutional infrastructure. PMSSEM seek to encourage:
    • new thinking on the ethical dimensions of popular music studies, including fieldwork, classroom education, publication, public sector work and advocacy.
    • the development of a more secure place for popular music studies within the academy.
    • greater cooperation between the diverse disciplines and scholarly societies that explore popular music.

Section Prizes

The Popular Music Section of the Society for Ethnomusicology is pleased to offer the Lise Waxer PMSSEM Student Paper Prize competition. The prize was created to recognize the most distinguished student paper in the ethnomusicology of popular music presented at the SEM annual meeting. The Waxer Prize comes with a cash award of up to $200. All students giving papers on popular music topics at the SEM conference are encouraged to submit their papers for consideration.

Scholar, teacher, and musician, Lise Waxer was an ethnomusicologist whose research on salsa music was greatly admired in the field and whose supportive work as a mentor and colleague inspired the greatest loyalty and respect from those around her. Her untimely death in 2002 was a shock to those that knew her, and at the 2002 SEM meeting, the PMSSEM voted to name the prize in her honor.

The Popular Music Section of the Society for Ethnomusicology is pleased to announce the 2016 Richard Waterman Prize competition. The prize was created to recognize the best article by a junior scholar in the ethnomusicological study of popular music published within the previous year, in any publication. The Prize comes with a cash award of up to $200.

 

Popular Music Section Reports (sign-in required)

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