Monday, May 15, 2006

End of the semester

I've reached the end of the semester and my first year as a graduate student in ethnomusicology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The semester was a good one, although things were intense at the end, writing four papers for my different seminars: Research Methods in Women's Studies, Music and Culture Workshop, Research Methods and Materials in Music, and Nietzsche and Schopenhauer's Ethical Responses to Suffering. My paper topics were all over the board: one paper on Johnny Cash and femicidal violence in American Recordings, a significant rewrite of my Max Roach's Politics of Sound, a paper on Nietzsche and music, and a final paper on music and violence. The last will hopefully function as the basis for my M.A. thesis; the paper on Johnny Cash will also be part of it.

I'm currently working on a separate self-reflexive project in which I am attempting to determine what music most resonates with me and why. Having listened to music intensely for almost all my life, I'm finally going to turn my gaze inward a bit to figure out exactly what music makes me tick. Solipsism, to be sure, but I think it worthwhile nonetheless, especially if I'm to write about music in others' lives. So I'm looking at this as a sort of musical autobiography more than anything else. I am attempting, ultimately, to be ruthlessly self-aware about my musical tastes, taking into account notions of Bourdieuian taste, the ideology of the aesthetic, and so forth. Anyway, perhaps nothing will come of it, but it will be fun nonetheless.