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Thursday, May 2, 2019 at 4:30pm to 6:00pm
Morrill Hall, 404
Cornell University Dept, 159 Central Avenue, Morrill Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853-4701, USA
In the years since 2011, political instability and shifts in militia governance have meant that musicians living and working in Libya encounter policing structures of varied forms in their daily lives. With no prevailing legal regime active in the country, those performing policing functions have frequently drawn on Islamic moral discourses to justify arrests, detentions, checkpoint stops, and other actions. This presentation takes a performance studies approach to instances of quotidian policing of music and their subversions in post-Gaddafi Libya in which actors make reference to religiosity or assumedly shared notions of virtue related to Islam. In so doing, I offer a critique of reigning frameworks which address the intersections of “music and Islam” while suggesting interdisciplinary methods through which the quotidian complexities of these intersections might be more substantively addressed. Weaving performance ethnography with a framework drawn from Islamic studies and performance studies, I illustrate how instances of quotidian policing are scenarios of social drama which both produce and are formulated through competing conceptualizations of Islam and of music, leveraging broad claims which then prescribe or predict possible action within the scenario.