Ethnomusicology Lecture: David Samuels (NYU): "Early Folk World: Searching for Ethical Humanity in 20th Century Industrial Modernity"
The twentieth century was witness to an ethical discourse about the scope of the human that took its cues from a discussion of how people should sound. The tones and timbres of vocal and instrumental music became key reference points in a dialogue about how to maintain a human existence under the conditions of modern urban industrial capital. Three interlocked musical movements-historical performance, folk revivalism and world music-represent overlapping attempts to retrieve an ethical humanity within the contexts of the perceived dehumanizing processes of industrial modernity. The three share common arguments about the human body and the value of social participation as important locations in which to find continued expressions of humanity in the contemporary world. David Samuels is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Music at New York University. A linguistic anthropologist, folklorist, and ethnomusicologist, he has published extensively on the confluence of affective symbols in the context of vernacular modernities. His articles have been published in The Annual Review of Anthropology, Semiotica, The Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, Language and Communication, and American Ethnologist.