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11 Jun - "What is a Boundary Good For? A Reconsideration through the Muslim-Jewish Musical Question in Algeria" European Netias Lecture by Jonathan Glasser, William and Mary University, Fellow at the Paris Institute for Advanced Study, Paris, France

The conference of Jonathan Glasser is organized in cooperation with NetIAS, Network of European Institutes for Advanced Study and is part of the European NetIAS Lecture Series.

Jun 11, 2020 from 04:00 PM to 06:00 PM

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The boundary has long been a key metaphor for analysts of social difference. For nearly half a century, the metaphor has been particularly important in the anthropological study of ethnicity, where thinking about the ethnic boundary as locus of action and negotiation came to displace a concern with the content alleged to reside on either side of the boundary. Drawing on my current research on Muslim-Jewish relationships around music in Algeria and in France, this talk explores one theoretical implication of this move: that boundaries are about the intertwining of connection and differentiation. I show that while Algerian Jewish participation in Arabic-language music has often been held up as something that breaks through, transcends, or brings into question the notion of a Muslim-Jewish boundary, close attention to the archival and ethnographic record shows music to be eminently susceptible to a reading through the boundary metaphor. Once conceived in such terms, however, the Algerian musical case opens up certain other questions about the nature of social boundaries. I propose that an extensive reworking of the boundary metaphor might help us renew the case for conceiving difference as a form of relationship.

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