Project #2

In this second unit, you will encounter a number of ethnomusicological approaches to different musics of the world. You will continue to work with textual evidence, focusing on quoting and making multiple texts “talk” to each other. You will also formulate an introduction (or, actually, a few different introductions) that make persuasive claims that you will support with your textual evidence. Finally, you will think about how different sorts of introductions can work for different readers.
Your critique groups for Project #2 are as follows:

  • Group 1: Conor Huh, William Hunt, Connor Pfister, Madeline Seagle, Owen Wood
  • Group 2: Emily Banks, Max Lilburn, Riley Pitts, Jorell Story, Toler Webb
  • Group 3: Jackson Allen, Brian Bourgeois, Andrea Garcia, Alex Strasser
In the first draft assignment for this project, you will work with Steven Feld’s article, “The Poetics and Politics of Pygmy Pop” (which is assigned for class on Thursday, September 22). In this article, Feld’s argument depends on the core term “schizophonic mimesis,” which he develops throughout much of the piece. For your draft assignment, you should do two things:

  • Summarize the meaning of the term “schizophonic mimesis,” as Feld uses it. Make sure to use sufficient quotes from the text and examples to support your summary. (Please note: although we will have already discussed this term in class, your draft must draw from the text itself. Drafts that only summarize our class discussion will not receive credit!)
  • Write an introduction to your summary in which you imagine why knowing about “schizophonic mimesis” might be of interest to a reader who is a non-expert interested in ethnomusicology. What would your reader gain by reading about the term? What claim might you be able to make about the term’s value or use (in conceptual or practical terms)?

Your draft should be no longer than 2 (typed, double-spaced) pages. Please do not go over this limit! As always, make sure to cite sources properly. Your draft is due on Moodle no later than 11pm on Sunday, September 25.

For the first peer critique of this project, you should work on the draft by the person below (or after) you in your group’s alphabetic list. Remember, too, that to be prepared for class on Tuesday, September 27, you must also read the drafts of everyone in your group, bring them to class, and be prepared to participate in a discussion of them.

For your more in-depth critique, you should address the following:

  • Look at the introduction paragraph. Search for any sentences that point to a problem (a gap in knowledge, something misunderstood, an unstable situation somewhere in the world, etc.). Underline the sentence(s) that state the problem. Then, in the margins of the paper (or at the end of the paper) rewrite the problem in a form of a question that you think the author is posing.
  • Find the sentence in which the author states an answer to the question. (We can call this sentence the “thesis” or the “claim” of the paper.) Evaluate whether that sentence is an appropriate answer to the question you wrote in part 1 of this critique. (You can use thematic analysis to see if question and answer use the same terms; you can also think about whether the claim seems reasonable based on the scope of the question.) Suggest revisions as appropriate.
  • Evaluate whether the question/answer pair you have identified in parts 1 and 2 are appropriate to the stated reader (someone “who is a non-expert interested in ethnomusicology”). Why or why not? How can the writer revise the problem and solution to make them seem more valuable or relevant to the reader?

Remember to either bring two hard copies of your critique to class, or to email your critique to me and to the author by the time class begins.

For the second draft in this project, you should do two main things:

  • Revise your introduction so that it constructs a problem and makes a claim. (The nature of your claim will be partly dependent on the revisions you make to the body of the paper, so make sure to see the second point before beginning your work!) For this draft, you are invited—but not required—tothink of a new reader for your paper, and target your introduction to that reader. The reader can be any group you like—an academic field, the readership of a particular publication—but it should be an intellectually motivated reader, someone who would be willing to read a couple pages on schizophonic mimesis. Therefore, you might think of yourself as writing for a sociologist, or writing a long-form piece for a publication like the London Review of Books, but not for a venue like Buzzfeed or Time. Whether you devise a new reader or not, in your revised introduction, make sure that you include an instability (what the reader believes and what condition might undermine that belief), consequences (what are the stakes of the problem, or what benefit might arise from your claim), and a claim.
  • Revise the body of your paper so that it includes new evidence from either Berliner’s “Music and Spirit Possession at a Shona Bira” or Hirschkind’s “Hearing Modernity.” You should think of the body of your paper as serving two functions: first, explaining the meaning of “schizophonic mimesis”; and second, applying it to one or more specific examples. (These functions can be interrelated and need not necessarily be fully separated in the body of the paper—but they must both take place within the paper.)

Your new draft should be a bit longer than your previous one—about 3 pages or so. Submit it on Moodle no later than 11pm on Sunday, October 2.

The second critique for this project will take place in class on Tuesday, October 4. As always, you should read the papers of everyone in your group. You should also prepare a detailed critique of the paper belonging to the person before/above you in the group’s alphabetic list.

Your task in this critique is, essentially, the same as in the first critique. Look at the introduction and assess the level of motivation it will give to whatever reader is being targeted. Is there a problem constructed? How do you know? (What words and structures indicate that there is a problem?) Is the instability valuable and realistic? Are the consequences valuable and realistic? Is there some sort of claim that will indicate what the rest of the paper will be about?

Once you have assessed the introduction and suggested revisions, you can also look at the rest of the paper, paying attention to the relevance of textual evidence (quotes) and the degree to which the writer has fulfilled expectations created in the introduction. In particular, think about whether the claim/thesis in the introduction is clearly connected to the body of the paper. Are there keywords in the thesis that occur in the rest of the argument? If not, do you think there are any that can be added?

This third draft is largely a revision of the second draft, but there are a few things to note, and a couple things that you must do:

  • Reader: Contrary to what I said in class, I actually want you to keep your target reader the same as before—an educated or scholarly reader who is not a specialist in ethnomusicology, but who nonetheless has an interest in the field. The reason I want you to keep it the same is that I think there is more work to do on assessing what this reader knows and values.
  • Texts: You have the option of rewriting your draft to use the text that is assigned for Thursday, October 13 (Daniel Neuman, “Becoming a Musician”). You must continue to write about the Feld chapter and the concept of “schizophonic mimesis”; however, if you think it would help you to make a better argument, you may use the Neuman chapter instead of Hirschkind or Berliner.
  • Introduction: You must substantially revise your introduction. Although it was not explicitly required in the last draft, you must now include an instability, consequences, and a thesis. This means that you need to think about what your reader cares about, what your reader knows, and what sorts of instabilities and consequences will be motivating. Don’t just point at something that you think is unstable; explain why it is unstable. Keep in mind that your reader probably cares substantially about conceptual consequences—such as the intellectual benefits of putting texts in conversation. (But you should also remember that this doesn’t imply that they don’t care about pragmatic consequences; for an example, refer back to the mix of conceptual and pragmatic in the introduction by Sydney Hutchinson that we discussed briefly in class on October 6.) Your thesis must be specific, and it must use themes that will structure your argument throughout the rest of the paper.
  • Textual evidence: Because your paper is about an interaction of two texts, you must make them interact somewhere in your paper. This does not mean that they need to interact in every paragraph; but conversely, you also should not simply divide the body of your paper into two halves in which you analyze one then the other text.

Your third draft should be at least 3 pages. (You will not get credit for a shorter paper: you cannot accomplish what you are asked to accomplish in less than 3 pages.) It should be submitted on Moodle no later than 11pm on Sunday, October 16.

For the final critique of this project, you should prepare a detailed evaluation of the paper belonging to the person two after/below you in your group list. As usual, you should read everyone’s paper and be prepared to discuss them in your group’s meeting.

For your critique, you should continue to focus on the structure of the paper’s introduction:

  • Is there a clear instability? Is the instability relevant or valuable to the target reader? Identify the instability, be able to explain how it is structured, and suggest any necessary revisions.
  • Does the writer incorporate both texts into the introduction?
  • Are there consequences in the introduction? Are those consequences realistic and valuable to the target reader?
  • Is there a clear claim/thesis stated in the introduction? Does the thesis use specific terms/key words?

You should also think about how the introduction fits the rest of the paper. Are there expectations created by the introduction that are not fulfilled by the paper—or vice versa? Does the thesis control what happens in the rest of the paper? Does the author create a strong conversation between the two texts, or are they mostly treated separately? In other words, your critique should evaluate the introduction, but you should also keep in mind that the introduction has implications for the success of the rest of the paper!

Remember that you are only required to attend one meeting next week. The schedule is as follows:

  • Group 1: Thursday, 11:00–12:15, Sloan B011
  • Group 2: Tuesday, 9:40–10:55, Sloan B011 (usual class time and place)
  • Group 3: Thursday, 9:40–10:55, Sloan B011 (usual class time and place)