UCSB graduate students (unless otherwise noted) from left to right at the SEM conference: Stephanie Choi, Jason Busniewski, Katherine Meizel (Ph.D. 2007), Scott Marcus (UCSB Professor), Katherine Morics, Eugenia Siegel Conte, Liza Munk, Randy Drake, Max Jack, Sunaina Keonaona Kale (October 2017). Photo by UCSB professor Tim Cooley.
Graduate students, alumni, and professors from UCSB's Ethnomusicology Program recently attended the Society for Ethnomusicology's annual conference in Denver, Colorado. Presenters included graduate students Jason Busniewski, Eugenia Siegel Conte, Liza Munk, Alex Blue, Jared Holton, Max Jack, and Sunaina Keonaona Kale; alumni Lillie Gordon (Ph.D.), Denise Gill (Ph.D.), David Trasoff (Ph.D.), Robin Moore (M.A. 1990), and David Garcia (B.A.); as well as UCSB professors David Novak and Ruth Hellier-Tinoco. Alumna Katherine Meizel and current graduate student Eugenia Siegel Conte offered an inside look into their experiences at SEM this year:
Katherine Meizel (D.M.A. in Voice 2004, Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology 2007, Associate Professor, Bowling Green State University)
"I attended and presented at my first SEM conference when I was a graduate student at UCSB, but not yet in the doctoral ethnomusicology program. The breadth and depth of that conference, which was held jointly with the College Music Society and ATMI, definitely influenced my decision to commit to ethnomusicology the next year—and I think the various joint conferences have been my favorites ever since. As someone with experience in two overlapping majors, I’ve always appreciated SEM’s willingness, despite any discursive or methodological tensions, to continuously reach outward and toward collaboration. My UCSB professors encouraged me to share what I had learned from my own interdisciplinarity; one invited me to talk about what performers and ethnomusicologists could learn from each other, in a roundtable discussion at a regional SEM conference. These opportunities were formative in my development as a scholar.
But I think that the transition between my student and professional experiences of SEM really came when I realized that, if I and others felt something was missing from the society, I could do something to help effect change, or at the very least to initiate a conversation. Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and Sections are an effective way of bringing attention to topics and approaches that need examination and definition, and I co-established the Voice Studies SIG with fellow UCSB alumna Eve McPherson in 2012. I want to also point to the Disability and Deaf Studies SIG, which was established by some brilliant graduate students in 2015—I hope that it will serve as a reminder that students can and do make a real difference in our field. The society doesn’t only shape its young scholars; they have the power to constantly redefine it, and ethnomusicology, as well."
Eugenia Siegel Conte (Graduate Student, Ethnomusicology Program)
"As a UCSB Ph.D. student in ethnomusicology, I have benefitted from Dr. Meizel's leadership and scholarly example, as well as the encouragement and engagement given by the UCSB Music faculty. The Voice Studies Special Interest Group (SIG) that Meizel and McPherson founded was the organization that made me aware that there were other scholars interested in the voice and embodiment; and also that I could learn much from my graduate student peers and current academics through attendance of these meetings at SEM. I always return intellectually energized (if physically exhausted!) from SEM conferences because I get to see, firsthand, the groundswell of new scholarly interests through stimulating paper presentations and group meetings. This was my first time presenting at the SEM conference, and, though nervous, I was ecstatic at the invitation to formally join these conversations. Seeing my name in the program has been the highlight of my academic career so far."
November 14, 2017 - 11:15am