Performing Commemoration

Musical Reenactment and the Politics of Trauma
Annegret Fauser and Michael A. Figueroa, editors
An edited collection about the roles music plays in public commemoration of traumatic events


Public commemorations of various kinds are an important part of how groups large and small acknowledge and process injustices and tragic events. Performing Commemoration: Musical Reenactment and the Politics of Trauma looks at the roles music can play in public commemorations of traumatic events that range from the Armenian genocide and World War I to contemporary violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the #sayhername protests. Whose version of a traumatic historical event gets told is always a complicated question, and music adds further layers to this complexity, particularly music without words. The three sections of this collection look at different facets of musical commemorations and reenactments, focusing on how music can mediate, but also intensify responses to social injustice; how reenactments and their use of music are shifting (and not always toward greater social effectiveness); and how claims for musical authenticity are politicized in various ways. By engaging with critical theory around memory studies and performance studies, the contributors to this volume explore social justice, in, and through music.
Annegret Fauser is Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Michael A. Figueroa is Assistant Professor of Music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Praise / Awards

  • Performing Commemoration offers valuable contemporary research into music and commemoration, conflict, and social justice, topics that are timely in ethnomusicology and related disciplines. The breadth of subject matter, wide range of research sites, engagement with current theoretical priorities and the concentration on music and trauma and conflict demonstrate the roles that music plays in human resiliency, memorialization and the ongoing need for social justice.”
    —Anna Hoefnagels, Carleton University

Look Inside

Table of Contents

Contents: v
Acknowledgments: vii
Introduction | Annegret Fauser and Michael A. Figueroa: 1
Trauma, Survival, and Musical Commemoration: 17
1. Ensounding Trauma, Performing Commemoration: Western Music in Time of War and Tumults | Annegret Fauser: 19
2. Commemorating Performance, the Cabaretesque, and History Inside Out | Philip V. Bohlman: 41
3. Music Commemorating the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Bombings | Noriko Manabe: 68
Mediation, Memory, and Musical Reenactment: 95
4. An Anthem for the AMIA Cause: León Gieco’s “La Memoria” and Public Assembly in the Benefit Music Video from Argentina | Lillian M. Wohl: 97
5. Musical Memory, Animated Amnesia: The Soundtrack of Exoneration in Waltz with Bashir | Michael A. Figueroa: 121
6. Say Her Name: Invocation, Remembrance, and Gendered Trauma in Black Lives Matter | Imani Danielle Mosley: 142
Possibilities and Impossibilities of Commemoration: Trauma’s Persistence and the Politics of Reenactment: 163
7. Songs of Flight: War and Genocide Reenactment on the Refugee Route | Vanessa Agnew: 165
8. Overwriting Sound: Polish Commemoration in Concert | Andrea F. Bohlman: 193
9. Music and the Mediation of Remembrance: Reflections on the Commemoration of the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide | Sylvia Angelique Alajaji: 219
10. The Accidental Archivists: Memory, Resonance, and Decay in Kivu | Chérie Rivers Ndaliko: 240
Afterword: Musical Commemoration and the Imagination of the Future | Kay Kaufman Shelemay: 263
Bibliography: 269
Contributors: 287
Index: 293

Product Details

  • 308 pages.
  • 26 illustrations, 3 tables.
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  • 2020
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  • 978-0-472-12721-4

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  • AMIA bombing, Argentina, Armenian genocide, atomic bomb, Black Lives Matter, cabaret, commemoration, Congo, diaspora, displacement, embodiment, environment, European studies, genocide, Hiroshima, Holocaust memory, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Japan, Jewish studies, Lebanon, memory regimes, music and trauma, musical reenactment, Nagasaki, performance, Poland, protest music, reenactment, reenactment and trauma, refugee route, remembrance, Say Her Name, Syrian refugees, trauma, Waltz with Bashir, Warsaw Ghetto, Warsaw Uprising, World War I, World War II