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Member-at-Large, Prizes Candidate Bios
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Michael Birenbaum Quintero

Michael Birenbaum Quintero (Ph.D. NYU, 2009) is an Assistant Professor of Music at the Department of Musicology & Ethnomusicology at Boston University. Before arriving at BU, he taught at Bowdoin College (2010-15), and held a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship (2009-10) at Johns Hopkins University (Anthropology ) / Peabody Conservatory (Musicology).

He is the author of Rites, Rights, and Rhythms: A Genealogy of Musical Meaning in Colombia’s Black Pacific (Oxford UP, 2018). His work uses both fieldwork and historical methods to examine musical framings of blackness in Latin America, cultural policies, social movements, vernacular uses of technology, and ontological framings of music as practice or object. Other published and forthcoming projects consider South-South circulation of champeta music, the use of algorithms in streaming music platforms, and the ways in which experiences of loudness can illustrate the dynamics of power, the social meaning of violence, and the delineation of public and private in the global South.

Michael has helped design cultural policy initiatives with the Colombian Ministry of Culture, established and directed a grassroots community music archive in Colombia, co-wrote a TV jingle for the Afro-Colombian activist organization PCN, appeared on an Afropop podcast, and organized tours and workshops with Colombian musicians. He publishes regularly in Colombia, where he was a visiting professor in the doctoral program in Afro-Latin American Studies at the Universidad del Valle as a Fulbright fellow (2013-2014). He was invited to return to Colombia to deliver the keynote address at the Congress of Marimba and Traditional Song of the Colombian Pacific (2014).

For an office concerned with SEM prizes, Michael has experience both as prize committee participant (Seeger Prize Committee 2006, Chair of Latin American and Caribbean Student Paper Prize Committee 2016, Minority Publication Subvention Grant 2017) and recipient (Seeger Prize 2005, Honorable Mention for Lise Waxer Prize 2009, Minority Publication Subvention Grant 2014). He has also served on SEM’s Strategic Planning Committee (2016-17), twice on SEM Council (2014-17 and 2004-07), and Standing Committee on Diversity 2004-07, and was Co-Chair of the Student Concerns Committee (2004-05).


Sarah Morelli

Sarah Morelli is currently Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of Denver, where she chairs the Department of Musicology and Ethnomusicology. Her areas of interest include music and dance practices in South Asia and diaspora communities, kathak dance, the body, gender, music and religion, and popular music. Sarah’s monograph, Tales of a Modern Guru: Pandit Chitresh Das and Indian Classical Dance in Diaspora, is an ethnographic examination of Pandit Chitresh Das’s contributions to kathak, forthcoming from the University of Illinois Press. Issues of culture-change in artistic diasporas inform this project, various related articles, and her earlier work on hip hop and youth culture in South Korea. She also is currently co-editing a volume with Zoe Sherinian titled Music and Dance As Everyday South Asia. Active as a performer, Sarah presents kathak in solo, small group, and larger ensemble formats as a member of the Leela Dance Collective, a group of artists from around the U.S. and India working collaboratively to forward a collective vision for kathak. In Denver, she founded the Sureela Academy, where she and her senior students teach kathak to members of the broader Denver community.

As a member of SEM since 1996, Sarah has regularly presented papers at the annual conferences and participated on panels and roundtables, including the 2008 President’s Roundtable, “SEM and American Imperialism.” She has served the society in various capacities, most recently as Local Arrangements Chair for the 2017 conference in Denver. Sarah has also served as Co-Chair of the SEM Section on the Status of Women (2011-2013), as Chair/Member of the Jaap Kunst Prize Committee to select the year’s most significant article in ethnomusicology (2011/2010), and as a member of the SEM Program Committee (2011), the SEM Council (2009-2012), and the Dance, Music, and Gesture Section’s Clara Henderson Award Committee for best student paper (2018).

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