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Narrating Indigenous Modernities

Transcultural Dimensions in Contemporary Māori Literature

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Michaela Moura-Koçoğlu

The Māori of New Zealand, a nation that quietly prides itself on its pioneering egalitarianism, have had to assert their indigenous rights against the demographic, institutional, and cultural dominance of Pākehā and other immigrant minorities – European, Asian, and Polynesian – in a postcolonial society characterized by neocolonial structures of barely acknowledged inequality. While Māori writing reverberates with this struggle, literary identity discourse goes beyond any fallacious dualism of white/brown, colonizer/colonized, or modern/traditional. In a rapidly altering context of globality, such essentialism fails to account for the diverse expressions of Māori identities negotiated across multiple categories of culture, ethnicity, class, and gender.
Narrating Indigenous Modernities recognizes the need to place Māori literature within a broader framework that explores the complex relationship between indigenous culture, globalization, and modernity. This study introduces a transcultural methodology for the analysis of contemporary Māori fiction, where articulations of indigeneity acknowledge cross-cultural blending and the transgression of cultural boundaries.
Thus, Narrating Indigenous Modernities charts the proposition that Māori writing has acquired a fresh, transcultural quality, giving voice to both new and recuperated forms of indigeneity, tribal community, and Māoritanga (Maoridom) that generate modern indigeneities which defy any essentialist homogenization of cultural difference. Māori literature becomes, at the same time, both witness to globalized processes of radical modernity and medium for the negotiation and articulation of such structural transformations in Māoritanga.

Word and Music Studies

Essays in Honor of Steven Paul Scher and on Cultural Identity and the Musical Stage

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Edited by Suzanne M. Lodato, Suzanne Aspden and Walter Bernhart

The eighteen interdisciplinary essays in this volume were presented in 2001 in Sydney, Australia, at the Third International Conference on Word and Music Studies, which was sponsored by The International Association for Word and Music Studies (WMA). The conference celebrated the sixty-fifth birthday of Steven Paul Scher, arguably the central figure in word and music studies during the last thirty-five years. The first section of this volume comprises ten articles that discuss, or are methodologically based upon, Scher’s many analyses of and critical commentaries on the field, particularly on interrelationships between words and music. The authors cover such topics as semiotics, intermediality, hermeneutics, the de-essentialization of the arts, and the works of a wide range of literary figures and composers that include Baudelaire, Mallarmé, Proust, T. S. Eliot, Goethe, Hölderlin, Mann, Britten, Schubert, Schumann, and Wagner. The second section consists of a second set of papers presented at the conference that are devoted to a different area of word and music studies: cultural identity and the musical stage. Eight scholars investigate – and often problematize – widespread assumptions regarding ‘national’ and ‘cultural’ music, language, plots, and production values in musical stage works. Topics include the National Socialists’ construction of German national identity; reception-based examinations of cultural identity and various “national” opera styles; and the means by which composers, librettists, and lyricists have attempted to establish national or cultural identity through their stage works.