Newsletter Nr. 10 from 7th November 2011
Dear colleagues and Friends,
In this edition of the MCS newsletter, we have a brief report from our conference “The Soundtrack of Conflict”, as well as some information on upcoming events and old and new members of the group.
1. The Soundtrack of Conflict: The Role of Music in Radio Broadcasting in Wartime and in Conflict Situations, 15-17 September 2011
Thanks to generous financial support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture, the Lower Saxony chapter of the Rosa Luxembourg Foundation, and the support of local radio station Stadtradio Göttingen, over 20 researchers from an impressive five continents recently joined us in Göttingen to discuss the hows and whys of the radio programming of music in conflict situations. The range of examples covered over the three days of the conference was exceptionally wide - from music on radio in the Soviet Gulag to music’s role in signaling military coups in Nigeria; from Mussolini’s Italy to South Africa under Apartheid; from migration, culture and conflict in Fiji to American radio broadcasting in the Middle East yesterday and today; and many more topics besides.
Despite this breadth of topics, regions and conflict types, a number of common themes emerged. These included the risks associated with outsiders trying to programme music broadcasts to third countries for propagandistic purposes, and the general observation that how music is perceived in these as any other circumstances is as much about personal history as cultural and historical background. Not only for these reasons, radio and music on radio does not merely function in a “top-down” manner, but can present an important means of communication between those at the front and those back home, and between exiles and their home countries.
A particular highlight of the conference was a lecture performance featuring material from the International Institute of Political Murder’s upcoming theatre production “Hate Radio”. The production, on the role of radio in the Rwandan genocide, is based on transcripts of radio broadcasts from the period. Details of the production and upcoming performances can be found here: International Institute of Political Murder
A summary report on the conference will be published on our own website in due course. A book based on the papers presented is planned, and will hopefully appear by the end of 2012.
2. Workshop “The Role of Music in Jesuit Missionary Work in Spanish and Portuguese America, 1540-1773: Research perspectives”
On 20 January 2012, we will host the next in our serious of workshops, this time dedicated to music in missionary contexts from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. The workshop will provide an opportunity for scholars working on this area to discuss sources and source interpretation, and to address the vexed question of the interaction but also suppression of musical cultures in the colonies. The programme will be published in the near future.
Places at the workshop are limited, with several places reserved for students and staff of the University of Göttingen. If you are interested in attending, please send an e-mail to email@example.com by Monday, 9 January 2012.
3. MCS Study Day on 1st February 2012
The MCS study days are an opportunity for intensive discussion of relevant and recent publications in the field of music and conflict research. These study days are open to anyone who is interested: to register, simply send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will provide more detailed information, including on the texts to be discussed, nearer the time.
4. Article 5: Researching Music Torture
Following our workshop on this issue last April, we are continuing our basic research on the use of music in connection with torture and CID punishment with a view to establishing longer-term projects on this subject in the near future. To this end, we have invited a number of researchers, including several who were guests at our last workshop, to join us for a further meeting in late November at which we will explore further what perspectives music psychology and music therapy have to offer here. Please note that this meeting is unfortunately not open to the public.
5. All change at MCS!
At the end of October, Simone Münz left the research group. Simone was one of the first research assistants to join the group when it was set up in 2008, and has played a crucial role in helping organise many of our events over the past two years in particular, including the conference “The Soundtrack of Conflict”. This is our opportunity to thank Simone again for all her hard work and to wish her all the best for her future!
We also have two new members of the group:
Kirsten Dyck, a doctoral student at Washington State University, is recipient of a Fulbright award to work with the group this academic year. Kirsten is working on the role of music in the white supremacist movement, and will be organising a workshop on this topic in Spring 2012.
Joshua Weitzel, a B.A. student in musicology and political science, has also joined the group as our new student assistant.
For more information on the group and our work, please see our website at
Research Group "Music, Conflict and the State" Homepage
The Research Group "Music, Conflict and the State"