Theory and Ethnomusicology

Master class with Martin Stokes

Organised by Annemette Kierkegaard

Time: May 5, 10 am - 4 pm

Place: University of Copenhagen, Musicology, Klerkegade 1, room 1

Registration: Kirsten Zeuthen by April 14.


  • 10-12am: Individual supervision by Martin Stokes. Please apply to Annemette Kirkegaard.
  • 1-4 pm: Seminar. Lecture by Martin Stokes, followed by short project presentations.


Ethnomusicology is at something of a juncture. On the one hand, its place in a more integrated musicology seems assured. On the other, the claim that 'we are all ethnomusicologists now' (Cook, forthcoming) raises questions about what the term now might mean. These are partly questions of 'theory'. They are also questions about the sub-discipline's response to changing institutional structures, 'interdisciplinarity', imperatives within academic publishing and the university presses, and the (ongoing) digital revolution. Previous 'junctures' have produced intensifications of theoretical language that momentarily settle around particular debates (e.g. Seeger 1970, Merriam 1977, Rice 1987). The current juncture, I would argue, is one that demands reflection on what it means to 'do theory' in ethnomusicology at all. This talk will situate the specific issue here in broader discussions about theoreticism in the humanities and social sciences going back about ten years (c.f. Berland, Straw and Tomas 1996)


  • Berland, Straw and Tomas (eds) Theory Rules: Art as Theory: Theory as Art, Toronto: YYZ Books
  • Merriam, Alan 1977 'Definitions of Comparative Musicology and Ethnomusicology: An Historical-Theoretical Perspective' Ethnomusicology 1: 213-29
  • Rice, Timothy 1987 'Toward the Remodeling of Ethnomusicology' Ethnomusicology 31 (3): 469-488


Martin Stokes MA, DPhil (Oxon)

Martin Stokes is a specialist in the musics of the contemporary Middle East, circum-Mediterranean and North West Europe. He received his DPhil from Oxford in 1989, was Lecturer in Ethnomusicology at the Queen’s University of Belfast from 1989–97, and was appointed Associate Professor at the University of Chicago in 1997.

He has been teaching ethnomusicology and the anthropology of music at Oxford since 2007. His recent work has explored issues of space, place, movement, nationalism, globalization, ethnicity, race and identity, sentiment, emotion and violence. He is currently completing ‘The Republic of Love: Transformations of Intimacy in Turkish Popular Culture’, and working on a biography of Abd al-Halim Hafiz with Joel Gordon. He also an organist and qanun player. 
Selected publications

The Arabesk Debate: Music and Musicians in Modern Turkey, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1992.

(Turkish translation, with new author's preface: Arabesk Olayi: Türkiye'de Müzik ve Müzisiyenler, Iletisim, Istanbul, 1998)

Ethnicity, Identity and Music: The Musical Construction of Place, Berg, Oxford, 1994 (2nd edition 1997).

Nationalism, Minorities and Diasporas: Identities and Rights in the Middle East, (eds. K. Schulze, M. Stokes and C. Campbell), Tauris Academic Studies, London, 1996.

Celtic Modern: Music on the Global Fringe, Lanham MD: Scarecrow Press,. (ed. M. Stokes and P.V. Bohlman), 2004