Beyond 1932 : Rethinking Musical Modernity in the Middle East and North Africa (1932 MUSCON)
Investigating the 1932 Cairo Arab Music Congress in order to reposition music in both humanistic and social scientific understandings of postcolonial modernity in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa/n) region.
That Congress, the largest gathering of musicians and musicologists in the post-Ottoman world, engaged musicological attention thirty years ago, but very little since. It continues to be understood as an event marking the end of MENA musical tradition and the beginning of a deeply compromised modernity.
This interdisciplinary project, examining both its past and its legacy, and engaging, through contemporary musical performance, poses a different question. What – beyond reaction - did it actually set in motion across the region? What aspects of its legacy remain unrecognized, and why? What futures – intellectual, institutional and cultural – does it still have?