29 Oktober 2014, Sámi Popular Music, Indigeneity, and the Politics of Gender

29 Oktober 2014, Sámi Popular Music, Indigeneity, and the Politics of Gender

erstellt am 07. August 2014

Gastvortrag Thomas R. Hilder (Hildesheim), 14.00 Uhr, Reiterkaserne, Raum 150, Institut für Ethnomusikologie in Kooperation mit dem Zentrum für Genderforschung

This lecture is about the politics of gender in the popular music of the Sámi, the in-digenous people of northern Scandinavia. Gender has been key to Sámi mobilisation, from the first pan-Sámi Assembly in Trondheim in 1917, to continuing debates in the move towards Sámi political and cultural self-determination within and across the Nordic states. An important arena for the transformation of notions of gender has been Sámi popular music, which emerged as part of a wider movement of Sámi cultural revival since the 1970s. Often drawing on the formerly suppressed shamanic vocal tradition of joik, Sámi musicians have assisted in articulating a Sámi identity, strengthening language, and reviving alternative epistemologies. Central to my analysis is the Norwegian Sámi musician Mari Boine, who, through her outspoken politics and exploration of different musical styles, has achieved global stardom on the world music scene whilst remaining highly respected within the Sámi community. In particular, I investigate how her music and philosophy challenges the patriarchy and hetero-normativity of imposed Christianity, enables the revival of ‘traditional’ Sámi notions of gender and sexuality, and assists in articulations of indigenous environmentalism. My lecture is based on ethnographic research I have been conducting in the Nordic peninsula since 2006. By drawing on postcolonial feminist and queer theory (Desai 2001; Hirvonen 2008; Kuokkanen 2009), I highlight how Sámi popular music, through transgressing identities of gender and sexuality, reveals the wider challenges and potentials of indigenous politics within and beyond the Nordic peninsula.


Thomas Hilder is a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for World Music, University of Hildesheim with training in ethnomusicology at Royal Holloway, University of London (PhD, MMus). His main research area is popular music of the Nordic countries, with a particular interest in postcolonial studies, gender theory, digital media and transnationalism. He has published on Sámi music in the journal Ethnomusicology Forum (2012) and is author of the forthcoming book Sámi Musical Performance and the Politics of Indigeneity in Northern Europe (Rowman & Littlefield). He is also lead editor of the book project Music, Indigeneity, Digital Media, and co-editor of the forthcoming book Music and Cultural Memory in Post-1989 Europe: Sounding Contested Past(s). In addition, he teaches courses on Nordic music, music and gender, and music and politics at the University of Hildesheim and Humboldt University, Berlin, he co-organizes the annual doctoral workshop in ethnomusicology at the Center for World Music, and co-runs the Berlin ethnomusicology research group BEAM.



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