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2000 Lecture: Arjun Appadurai
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Arjun Appadurai will present the 2000 Charles Seeger Lecture at the 45th Annual Meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology in Toronto on Saturday, November 4. Appadurai, who is the Samuel N. Harper Professor of Anthropology and South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago, will deliver an address entitled "Remake, Recall, Remix: Globalization and the Aesthetics of Repetition.”

Appadurai’s work on globalization, public culture, and modernity has been enormously influential in ethnomusicology in the last ten years as we, as a field, have attempted to develop interpretive tools to address the complexities of identity, commodification, and power stratification in musical cultures that can no longer be construed as simply local. Appadurai has long been concerned with how local practices of everyday life are mediated by economics, mass media, aesthetics, and the various projects of the nation state. In a series of influential publications Appadurai has argued for abandoning traditional anthropological notions of culture in favor of an interpretive framework that stresses what he (and Carol Breckenridge, his frequent collaborator) have termed a "zone of cultural debate” between everyday life and mass mediated public culture. Appadurai’s notion of culture as a set of landscapes—mediascapes, ethnoscapes, technoscapes, finanscapes, and ideoscapes—has provided a set of terms that has been useful in implementing this more flexible and fluid approach to culture (see "Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy,” Public Culture 2[2]:1-24).

Less well-known is the importance of performance and aesthetics in Appadurai’s work. In "Topographies of the Self: Praise and Emotion in Hindu India” (in Lutz and Abu-Lughod, Language and the Politics of Emotion, 1990, pp. 92-112, Cambridge University Press), Appadurai stresses the performative and aesthetic quality of praise in negotiating social status and constituting "communities of sentiment” during marriage negotiations in Hindu India. In his work on consumption and modernity (in Carol Breckenridge, editor, Consuming Modernity: Public Culture in a South Asian World, 1995, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press and "Global Ethnoscapes,” in Richard G. Fox, editor, Recapturing Anthropology: Working in the Present, pp. 191-210, Santa Fe: School of American Research), Appadurai emphasizes the role of image and aesthetics in mass media and its role in shaping cultural imagination.

Appadurai’s recent work has been concerned with modernity (Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization, 1996, University of Minnesota Press; "Playing with Modernity: The Decolonization of Indian Cricket,” in Consuming Modernity, pp. 23-48), and its transformation from a quintessentially Western ideology to one fundamentally transformed by colonial and postcolonial experiences. His most recent article, "The Grounds of the Nation-State: Identity, Violence and Territory” (in Goldman, Hannerz, and Westin, Nationalism and Internationalism in the Post-Cold War Era, forthcoming) concerns nationalism and group violence.
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