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2003 Lecture: Judith Becker
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Judith O. Becker is Professor of Musicology/Ethnomusicology at the University of Michigan and was named Glenn McGeoch Collegiate Professor of Musicology in 2000. She is currently the Director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at UM.

Becker is especially known for her scholarship on the musics of Southeast Asia, particularly the gamelan music of Central Java. More broadly, she is known for her efforts to theorize music as behavior and for her willingness to search widely for the intellectual and methodological tools to yield new insights.

She is the author of two books, Traditional Music in Modern Java: Gamelan in a Changing Society (University Press of Hawaii, 1980) and Gamelan Stories: Tantrism, Islam and Aesthetics in Central Java (Arizona State University Press, 1993; revised edition, in press). Although she is arguably best known for her interpretive work, Becker oversaw a massive translation project, Karawitan: Source Readings in Javanese Gamelan and Vocal Music, edited by Judith Becker and Alan Feinstein (University of Michigan, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, 1984, 1987, 1988), that brought a large number of primary written works on Javanese gamelan into English.

In the mid-1990s, Becker embarked on an ambitious comparative project to examine the relationship between trance and music in several very different musical traditions, from the Sufis of north India, to Balinese trancers, to Sri Lanka, to American Pentecostals. Delving deeply into neuroscience, Becker is now focused on the relationships between culture and biology, and she works within the framework of biological phenomenology in her forthcoming book, Deep Listeners: Music, Emotion and Trancing. This year’s Seeger lecture will address some of the very deepest relationships between music, culture, and the human body
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