Project #1

In this first project, you will reflection the question of what is “world music.” As we will see, the term “world music” can be understood in a number of ways and by a number of different cultural actors. It is a loose classification of “non-Western” musics; it is used as a genre category by the recording industries; it is a convenient way for some ethnomusicologists to distinguish themselves from colleagues who specialize in music of the Western art music tradition. Each of these has a basis in practice; none is complete or authoritative. By the end of this project, you will have to develop a definition for “world music” and support it using examples of both musical and research practice.
The following are the critique groups for project 1. These are the groups whose papers you will read and respond to throughout the first unit of the course.

Group 1: David Dameron, Lawrence Guo, Will Messner, Scott Stegall, Maggie Swearingen
Group 2: Lexi DiTrapano, Drew Hager, Tiffany Onia, Gaby Soden
Group 3: Evan Blanpied, Lucy Hammet, Michael Kim, Jonathan Phillips

The first draft for the project is due on Sunday, September 4, by 11pm. To submit the project, go to the course’s Moodle page, find the link titled “Project #1, Draft 1,” and follow the directions contained there. Your draft should be two pages, typed and double-spaced.

In this first draft, you should think about the methods employed by Bernard Lortat-Jacob as a researcher (as represented in Sardinian Chronicles) and the ways he assembles the book. In particular, think about ways in which he is himself an actor in the descriptions that he provides. Then, select one excerpt in which Lortat-Jacob plays a central role, and describe how his presence in the narrative allows us to understand something about the cultural system of music-making in Sardinia.

The central conceit of this prompt is that the ethnographer’s status in a culture is that of an outsider, but of an outsider who is able to gain insights into how the culture works. You may wish to pay attention to places in which Lortat-Jacob tells us about his social failures—where he misunderstands how things work—and what he learns (and conveys to us) about those moments.

The first peer critique will take place in class on Tuesday, September 6. During class, you will work with your critique groups to discuss each other’s papers. Therefore the first thing you should do to prepare for class is to download the papers of everyone in your group and read them. This is critical: even though one person will be responsible for leading the discussion for each paper, the discussion will only be really useful if everyone can participate. Make sure that you bring all of the papers to class so that you can refer to them.

The second thing you should do is to prepare a detailed critique of the draft by the person below you in the alphabetic list of your group. In your critique, you should do the following:

  • Identify all the quotations and paraphrases of Lortat-Jacob that appear in the draft. (Verify that they are accurate and correctly cited.) Then identify any words that seem to be essential to the Lortat-Jacob’s meaning or argument. Circle these words. (There may be several in any given quote, but be a little selective—not every word in the quotes will be so critical!)
  • Assess whether the text surrounding these quotes is connected to those key words that you’ve circled. Look for words that are the same as, or are closely related to, the circled words. Underline the related words. (Note: by “the text surrounding these quotes,” I generally mean the paragraph that contains the quote. However, the paragraph is not always the relevant structural unit, so you should feel free to go beyond the paragraph, or to limit yourself more narrowly, if you feel it is appropriate.)
  • Suggest ways in which the author can better contextualize the text quotes in the draft. Suggest a revision to at least one sentence in at least two paragraphs so that they do more to elucidate the meaning of the quoted text.

You should be prepared to lead your group in discussion of the paper you critique. This does not mean that you simply present your critique; rather, you should ask questions of the other group members to see if they agree with you, or if they have other ways of approaching the paper. There is no single “correct” way to write and revise this assignment, so it will be helpful to encounter a lot of possible revisions and to decide which you prefer!

You also must submit your detailed critique. You can do this in one of two ways: 1) you can bring two printed copies of the critique to class, and give one to me and one to the author the draft; 2) you can email the critique to both me and the author no later than the start of class on Tuesday.

In the first two chapters of Bohlman’s World Music: A Very Short Introduction, we encounter some key concepts that are fundamental to the study of music around the world: ontology, epistemology, the “West,” the concept of authenticity. All of these (and many other) terms can be used to help us define and understand what might be meant by “world music.”

Your task in this second draft is to use Bohlman to interpret the textual passage you analyzed in your first draft. Broadly, you should think about how to respond to the question of whether—and how—your example reveals something about the idea of “world music.” Does your example demonstrate a Sardinian musical ontology? A concept of authenticity? And what does the example tell us about “world music”? Does it support a particular notion of world music (and, perhaps, refute another version of the term)? Or is it the case that, for whatever reason, your example can’t really fit into any notion of “world music” as indicated by the first two chapters in Bohlman’s book?

In constructing this draft, you must both revise and add to your first draft. Your purpose in this draft is different than before, and the form of your analysis must therefore change to suit this new context. If you wrote an introduction to the first draft, you may now find that it is inadequate to this new task and needs to be scrapped and rewritten. You may consider whether you need to address some ideas from Bohlman before introducing Lortat-Jacob; or whether Bohlman best fits after Lortat-Jacob; or whether the two texts should be woven together, alternating appearance in your draft. You are certainly encouraged to use your writing from the first draft, but you cannot leave the first draft unmodified. In short, there is no single or simple way to go about creating this new draft, and it is up to you to consider what you wish to accomplish and how you think you can accomplish it.

Your second draft should be about 3–4 pages. It is due on Moodle by 11pm on Sunday, September 11.

The main goals of this second critique are to evaluate the introduction of a new text into your writing and to consider how well the first draft has been revised to fit the purpose of the second prompt.  As with the first critique, you should prepare for class by downloading and reading the drafts of everyone in your group. You should also prepare a more detailed critique of the draft belonging to the person BEFORE you in the alphabetic list of your group.

In your detailed critique, you should do the following:

  • Identify a paragraph in the draft that addresses both Bohlman’s and Lortat-Jacob’s texts. Then, within that paragraph, identify any keywords or phrases that link the two texts. There are many ways you can think of this. It might be the case that there are particular words used by both authors. However, you might need to think a bit more abstractly. For instance, if the author of the draft is making a point about how Lortat-Jacob reveals a particular musical “ontology,” you’ll want to figure out which words or phrases from the Lortat-Jacob text specifically speak to the concept of “ontology” (since Lortat-Jacob doesn’t used that particular word).
  • If there are no paragraphs in the draft that explicitly deal with both texts, then you should find a paragraph where the author may be able to add the second text in a productive way. Be able to explain why the addition of the second text would benefit the author’s presentation of evidence.
  • Find a place where the author quotes from Sardinian Chronicles and evaluate the integration of the quote(s) into the text. Do the same for a quote from Bohlman. (Note: this may overlap somewhat with point 1, but I would still like  you to treat the texts separately in this isolated case so that you can point out how well the author has contextualized each text.) This should look quite like the first critique you did last week, where you identify one or two keywords and see if they are connected to the surrounding text written by the paper’s author.
  • Finally, take the keywords you have identified in the preceding tasks and see if any of them appear anywhere else in the paper (particularly in the first or last paragraphs). Think about whether the overall coherence of the paper could be improved by adding in any of these keywords elsewhere.

As before, you must provide copies of your critique to both me and to the author of the paper. You can bring 2 printed copies to class, or you can email them to both me and the author no later than the start of class on Tuesday, September 13. Any critique not submitted by this time will be considered late.

The final version of Project #1 is due on Moodle by 11pm on Sunday, September 18. In the final version, you should focus on revising and refining your second draft. The prompt remains the same—essentially, how does Sardinian Chronicles reveal something about “world music” (as defined by Bohlman), or how can we use ideas from Bohlman to interpret Sardinian Chronicles. You are not required to add anything new or to repurpose your writing.

In preparing your final version of the project, you might consider some of the following:

  • Have you addressed the issue of integrating quotations into your paper? Pay attention to how well your quotations are connected to the text around them, focusing on how you use key terms from the quotes to build your own ideas.
  • Is there a clear interaction between the Bohlman and Lortat-Jacob texts? It’s ok to address the texts separately in part of the paper, but to fully succeed at this task, there needs to be an interaction between the texts—for instance, quoting from one as a way of interpreting the other. This is not to say that every paragraph needs to use both texts equally; however, most paragraphs should contain at least the presence of each text.
  • Have you responded to the critiques from your peers and myself? Much of your grade will be determined based on the quality of your revisions. You don’t need to rewrite everything, but you should clearly and substantively respond to the feedback you received on your drafts.
  • Have you proofread the paper? This is important and should be treated as a necessary step in revisions. We all make silly and understandable mistakes with spelling and grammar, but sometimes these can get in the way of comprehension of your writing, whether because they are great in number or are particularly egregious in nature. Check the spellings of names and other words; remember to use authors’ full last names. Perhaps even have someone else read your paper before you submit it.
  • Have you included all necessary citations and a works cited list? These are essential elements of your paper, and your grade will be lowered if you omit them.