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Member-at-Large Nominees
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Jake Nelson, Yale University

Jake Nelson is pursuing an MA in European and Russian Studies at Yale University, with a focus on diaspora issues, minority integration, and popular musicology in contemporary France. He received his BA in music and French and Francophone studies from the College of William & Mary. He was most recently a foreign affairs specialist at the U.S. Department of State, where he served as the European regional advisor to the successful U.S. re-election campaign to the UN Human Rights Council and advised U.S. embassies and European governments on policies to monitor and combat human trafficking and human rights violations. After graduate school, he will return to the Department of State as a political officer in the U.S. Foreign Service. He hopes to use his position as an American diplomat to incorporate broader cultural heritage issues into the United States’ understanding of countries’ civil and political societies, as well as bringing with him the understandings of gender, race, indigeneity, religion, and other social issues that he has come to gain in large part through the study of ethnomusicology.

My presence on the SEM Student Union Section executive committee as the member-at-large would provide balance and diversification in several important ways. As a masters student, I understand the unique needs of this population, particularly in finding support for research and opportunities to publish and present papers. As someone not explicitly studying ethnomusicology, I work constantly to take an interdisciplinary approach to the understanding of world musics. As a popular musicologist, I come from a sub-field that still remains somewhat marginalized within broader ethnomusicology. As a future public servant, I represent a pathway outside academia or research for ethnomusicologists to find meaningful work that can build on their acquired knowledge. But beyond all that, or perhaps in spite of it, I am committed to the success of this field and our colleagues, and I see the rebranding of the SCC as a pivotal moment to insure full integration of students into the SEM infrastructure. In serving as the SEM Student Union Section’s member-at-large for the next year, I would look forward to working with the other various groups and committees within SEM and its regional bodies to ensure students’ voices are heard and valued. I would also look forward to working with the executive committee to design additional projects that serve ethnomusicology students, including, perhaps, increasing the visibility of potential non-academic careers for ethnomusicologists.

Amanda Berman, Boston University

I am a fourth-year ethnomusicology PhD student at Boston University (doctoral candidate, pending completion of dissertation prospectus). I am the first student to graduate from Wheaton College (MA) with a degree in ethnomusicology, and my advisor was Matthew Allen. I received an M.A. in Coexistence and Conflict from Brandeis University. My graduate work focused on arts and peace building, as well as the possibilities for dialogue in post-Katrina New Orleans, the Somali diaspora in Lewiston-Auburn, Maine, and music torture in the Global War on Terror.

For my dissertation, I will be studying the Cape Breton diaspora in the greater Boston area. I will examine where the Celtic Maritime identity fits into the Boston Celtic music community, the role of the Gaelic language in the area, and if non-Celtic Cape Breton diasporic groups are present in New England. I wish to increase the offerings of Gaelic and Maritime music and culture at the university level, specifically in the New England area.

I am interested in working to support the scholar with disabilities, both visible and invisible, as well as scholars with children, particularly women in the early steps of the academic path who are often facing tough decisions regarding the balance between teaching and parenting. I want to have frank discussions on how the field can support the unique needs that both of these groups face with respect to fieldwork locations, course loads, schedules, and discrimination.

I would like to encourage offerings in online and in-person workshops for students who are entering the job force and would like feedback on CVs, articles, and the academic application process. I also want to help develop a forum for introducing and valuing non-academic employment options for ethnomusicologists, as well as frankly addressing the changes in the changes in the availability of tenure-track positions.

I am the chair of the Celtic Music Special Interest Group, and also belong to the Medical Ethnomusicology and Music and Violence SIGs. I am also a member of the Northeast Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology and the Graduate Music Society at Boston University. Thus, I have many contacts within the field. I also have extensive customer service and administrative experience that will be useful for maintaining databases, coordinating groups, and collaborating to share available resources.

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