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The Society for Ethnomusicology was founded in 1955 to promote the research, study, and performance of music in all historical periods and cultural contexts.


SEM is a U.S.-based organization with an international membership of approximately 1,800 individuals dedicated to the study of all forms of music from diverse humanistic and social scientific perspectives. We examine music as central to human experience throughout space and time, and explore its profound relationship to cognition, emotion, language, dance, visual arts, spiritual belief, social organization, collective identity, politics, conflict and peace, economics, the physical body, and mental health. Through SEM programs and the work of our individual members, we seek to advance academic and public understanding and appreciation of music as a cultural phenomenon of unlimited variety and as a resource that is fundamental to the wellbeing of individuals and communities.

SEM's individual members include scholars, teachers, students, performers, media professionals, museum specialists, archivists, librarians, and administrators from such disciplines as musicology, anthropology, folklore, cultural studies, ethnic and area studies, gender studies, acoustics, and music education. As a network of individuals that reaches across countries, disciplines, and academic institutions, the Society serves as a leading forum for the production, exchange, and peer review of scholarship on the world's music. In addition, SEM has more than 800 institutional members (consisting primarily of libraries) and has been an active member of the American Council of Learned Societies since 1966.

In the fall, SEM holds an annual meeting that attracts over 900 participants. This meeting features scholarly presentations and discussions, films, workshops, concerts, and the award of prizes for outstanding work in ethnomusicology. Our ten regional chapters hold annual conferences during the winter and spring. SEM publishes Ethnomusicology, the leading journal in the field, the SEM Newsletter, and SEM Student News. Our website (www.ethnomusicology.org) offers a variety of resources related to ethnomusicology, as well as information about the Society.

The SEM Business Office is based on the campus of Indiana University Bloomington and gratefully acknowledges this institution's support.


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