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President-Elect Candidate Bios and Statements
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Timothy J. Cooley

An active member of SEM since 1987, I have had the honor of serving SEM on the Board as the 1st Vice President, as the President of the Southern California and Hawai‘i Chapter, on the Student Affairs Committee (now Student Union), the Council, as the founding Chair of the Special Interest Group for European Music, on several prize committees, and chapter program and local arrangement committees. I also served a term as the Editor of Ethnomusicology. My education includes a master’s in Music History from Northwestern, and a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from Brown. My first professional career was in public sector and applied folklore/ethnomusicology at the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. That job instilled in me a commitment to public institutions and the necessity of actively working for diversity and equity on every level, starting at home. I have been teaching at the University of California, Santa Barbara, since 1998, where I am a Professor of Ethnomusicology and affiliated faculty in Global Studies.


My research and teaching focuses broadly on how people use musicking to forge and express identities interactively within social, political, historic, and environmental contexts. For example, profound human interactions with very different natural and political environments figure prominently in my two monographs. Making Music in the Polish Tatras: Tourists, Ethnographers, and Mountain Musicians (winner of the 2006 Orbis Prize for Polish Studies, American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies), documents the formation of a distinct ethnic group in the alpine Tatra Mountains as the social and economic use of mountains changed in Central Europe. Surfing about Music (2014, shortlisted for AMS’s Music in American Culture Award), charts the appropriation and reinvention of a cluster of cultural practices involved with surfing as Hawai‘i was colonized. I move deeper into emerging ecomusicology in my forthcoming edited volume, Cultural Sustainabilities: Music, Media, Language, Advocacy (University of Illinois Press, 2019). My first book, edited with Greg Barz, Shadows in the Field: New Perspectives for Fieldwork in Ethnomusicology (OUP 1997, 2nd edition 2008), leaves me perpetually intrigued with changing research goals and methods in our field, which remains grounded in human relationships. Other publications include entries and chapters in encyclopedias and books such as The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Cambridge History of World Music, Encyclopedia of Global Religion, the textbook Worlds of Music, as well as articles in leading academic journals.



Timothy J. Cooley, Statement of Candidacy:  


As candidate for President, I draw on over 30 years of active involvement in SEM in many capacities. These experiences give me insights into and a deep respect for SEM’s extraordinary system of governance, built on open communication with the Society’s membership. Our Council of 42 individuals (including students); standing committees on Academic Labor, Diversity Action, and Ethics, for example; Sections, SIGs, and regional chapters; the Student Union and other sub-groups all inform every decision the Board makes. If elected to serve as President, my first commitment will be to honor this legacy of profoundly collaborative and participatory governance because I have seen how it empowers our individual members and strengthens SEM as an organization. After all, listening to others, especially those who are challenging one’s own ideas and (mis)understandings, is what makes for a good ethnomusicologist.


My second commitment is to our student and under-employed members. As the largest academic society devoted to ethnomusicology in the world, we collectively have great responsibility to our student members and to all members with professional needs. One place to engage with current student concerns is SEM Student News (a publication whose formation I facilitated when serving as Editor of Ethnomusicology and subsequently on the SEM Board). My commitment to students and under-employed members includes advocating for employment, internship, and post-doc opportunities in academic institutions and in the public and private sectors.


My third commitment builds on the second: as President, I will represent SEM vigorously in national and international forums, such as ACLS, ICTM, and BFE, as well as public sector organizations including the NEH, NEA, and Library of Congress. My career in the public sector before returning to academia gives me some understanding of public agencies and experience with applied ethnomusicology. In these forums, I will work to create viable new opportunities for ethnomusicologists in many capacities.


Many of my goals for the Society are addressed in the 2017-2022 SEM Strategic Plan put in place by our current hard-working Board. The plan amplifies the groundswell of your voices that call for renewed efforts to “expand public, applied, and advocacy initiatives” and to “increase the diversity and inclusivity of SEM membership.” This Strategic Plan emerges in a current geopolitical climate that is moving away from core SEM values. We face new challenges, but our commitment to open enquiry, inclusivity, social justice, and opportunity is needed now more than ever. 



Robin Moore

Robin Moore is Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of Texas at Austin. His research interests include music and nationalism, music and race, music and socialism, music curriculum reform, and music of Cuba and Latin America. His publications include Nationalizing Blackness (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1997), Music and Revolution (University of California Press, 2006), Music of the Hispanic Caribbean (Oxford, 2010), Musics of Latin America (W.W. Norton, 2012), Danzón: Circum-Caribbean Dialogues in Music and Dance (Oxford, 2013, co-written with Alejandro Madrid), College Music Curricula for a New Century (Oxford, 2017), and articles on Cuban music in Ethnomusicology, Cuban Studies, The International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music, and other journals and book anthologies. He has received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Rockefeller Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and the National Humanities Center, among other institutions. His recent awards include the Robert Stevenson Award from the American Musicological Society and the Bela Bartok Award for outstanding ethnomusicology publication from ASCAP, both from 2013. Since 2005 he has served as editor of the Latin American Music Review. His most recent research involves a critical translation of writings by Fernando Ortiz on Afrodescendant Caribbean music, and on envisioning a more progressive applied music curriculum for universities.


Robin Moore, Statement of Candidacy:  

If elected president, one of my primary interests would be to encourage conversations about how to make the work that ethnomusicologists do as broadly relevant as possible, and how to influence as many people’s lives as possible with it in positive ways. I believe these efforts can best be achieved through a combination of increased support for public scholarship in various forms, collective efforts to develop new and innovative approaches to pedagogy and curricula, revisiting the sorts of training we offer graduate students, and rethinking the boundaries of our discipline in terms of the ways we interact with colleagues in historical musicology, music theory, music education, faculty in applied areas, and others. During my thirty years of involvement in the Society, the numbers of students and researchers representing our discipline have expanded greatly and ethnomusicology has attained a relatively secure (if minimal) position in college-level institutions. But we have also painted ourselves into an ideological corner of sorts: our heavily interdisciplinary orientation and engagement with the social sciences results in scholarship that does not always seem relevant to music students and educators in other areas. The limited public for much of our work is one reason for the current exploration of new analytical paradigms in the field and growing support for activist scholarship, the digital humanities, discussion of musical sustainability, community engagement, and related topics. I support all these efforts strongly and will further them by collectively developing ways to expand the reach of ethnomusicology beyond its present confines in multiple contexts (academic, public, performative) so that it plays a more central role in all forms of musical training and education. 

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