AffecTalks // Ian MacMillen / Playing it dangerously: belonging, exclusion and tambura sentiment


Join us for the 1st lecture in the AffecTalks series

Ian MacMillen

Playing it dangerously: belonging and exclusion and the tambura sentiment

November 16, 2021, 11:00-12:30 CET


Ian MacMillen will present on his recent monograph, Playing It Dangerously (Wesleyan University Press, 2019). The book offers a new way to understand music and race, demonstrating how structures of belonging as well as exclusion arise as musicians’ feelings conflict with their discourses of diversity and inclusion. Based on fieldwork in Croatia, Serbia, Austria, and the U.S., it examines music’s affective mobilization beyond conscious thought, arguing for the centrality of material processes to the racialization of sentiment in tambura music. This genre-crossing practice serves as a site of both contestation and reconciliation for Croats, Roma, and Serbs since Croatia used it as a national symbol during the 1990s wars. The book demonstrates the dialectical dynamic between affective and discursive responses to differences in playing style, and how the denial of feeling ultimately helps to privilege ideas of tambura players as heroic male Croats, even as the music engenders diverse ethnic, racial, and gendered becomings.

Ian MacMillen is Lecturer in Music at Yale University and, for the Fall 2021 semester, a Fulbright Scholar in Bulgaria with a lectureship at New Bulgarian University. He previously directed the Center for Russian, East European & Central Asian Studies at Oberlin College & Conservatory, where he taught courses in Ethnomusicology and East European Studies. His research focuses on popular and traditional musics of Southeast Europe, with concentrated fieldwork projects in Eastern Croatia, Vojvodina (Serbia), and Sofia, Bulgaria. In addition to a monograph on tambura Music in Croatia (Wesleyan University Press, 2019), his research appears or is forthcoming in publications such as Ethnomusicology ForumEthnomusicologyHrvatski Tamburaški Brevijar, and the Oxford Handbook of Slavic Folklore. His current book project on music, memory, and forgetting has been solicited by the University of Chicago Press.

AffecTalks lecture series is organized within the project “Music and politics in the post-Yugoslav space: toward a new paradigm of politics of music in the 21st century”, financed by the Slovenian Research Agency (J6-9365).

Ana Hofman, lecture: Partisan Songs on Screen: An Affective Archive of Antifascism

Ana Hofman held a lecture at the Institute for Slavistics, Vienna University

In this talk, I examine how affective power of collective singing (and listening) of partisan songs is an essential aspect of the construction of Yugoslav revolutionary subjectivity. I draw on my long-term research on the genre of partisan songs, its affective politics during Yugoslav socialism and its afterlife in the post-Yugoslav societies. Looking at the iconic soundtracks from the partisan films Bitka na Neretvi (1969) and Užička Republika (1974), I observe the affective encounters produced by and through the auditory experience of partisan songs as a main tool for portraying collective revolutionary becomings. The fact that partisan songs are “born” in the moment of struggle and resistance suffuses them with a particular drive or spirit that triggers the songs’ mobilizing force and enables mobilization on various somatic, sensorial, emotional and cognitive levels. For this reason, they are not employed in the films as a tool for mediating a particular set of ideas and values, but are primarily as affectively imbued sonic objects. In other words, affective power of collective singing and listening is used to portray the emergent revolutionary sense of collectivity as highly somatic and affective experience. In this talk, I first examine the historical discourses of the affective power of partisan songs with an emphasis on their collective authorship, performance, mediation and circulation. In the second part, I engage with complex overlapping histories and memories of the antifascist struggle, resistance, and revolution as condensed in an aural experience that is capable of transmitting a spirit of the moment of Yugoslav partisan struggle with all its revolutionary exceptionality.

Alenka Bartulović, Affective hospitality: sevdalinka and the new politics of solidarity in Slovenia

In the framework of Erasmus+ teaching exchange, Assist. Prof. Alenka Bartulović gave four lectures at the University of Zadar at the end of October. She addressed the imagining of the future in post-war Sarajevo and especially the role of music in antinationalist activism. In her second lecture she focused on affectivity and politics of Bosnian music, particularly sevdalinka in Ljubljana in the 1990s.

Ana Hofman, lecture “Antifascism, Activism and the Politics of the Past after Yugoslavia” Humanities Center, Bucknell University, U.S.

Ana Hofman will hold a lecture at the Humanities Center, Bucknell University   on “Antifascism, activism and politics of the past after Yugoslavia”; November 13, 2019

Continue reading “Ana Hofman, lecture “Antifascism, Activism and the Politics of the Past after Yugoslavia” Humanities Center, Bucknell University, U.S.”