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Music and Cultural Rights

Global and local perspectives on the meaning and significance of cultural rights through music

Framing timely and pressing questions concerning music and cultural rights, this collection illustrates the ways in which music--as a cultural practice, a commercial product, and an aesthetic form--has become enmeshed in debates about human rights, international law, and struggles for social justice. The essays in this volume examine how interpretations of cultural rights vary across societies; how definitions of rights have evolved; and how rights have been invoked in relation to social struggles over cultural access, use, representation, and ownership. The individual case studies, many of them based on ethnographic field research, demonstrate how musical aspects of cultural rights play out in specific cultural contexts, including the Philippines, China, Hawaii, Peru, Ukraine, and Brazil.

Contributors are Nimrod Baranovitch, Adriana Helbig, Javier F. León, Ana María Ochoa, Silvia Ramos, Helen Rees, Felicia Sandler, Amy Ku'uleialoha Stillman, Ricardo D. Trimillos, Andrew N. Weintraub, and Bell Yung.

Supported by the Human Rights Division under the Peace and Social Justice Program of the Ford Foundation


"Illuminating and thought provoking. Music and Cultural Rights will challenge musicians, music scholars, and music educators to reexamine their preconceived notions of culture, music's purpose within culture, and the social responsibilities that come when using this music."--Music Educators Journal

"The best perspective to date on the issues of music and cultural rights. This anthology speaks to the many scholars who believe that engaged scholarship is the way of the future."--Beverley Diamond, author of Native American Music in Eastern North America: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture

"A volume on music and cultural rights is both timely and welcome, particularly one that relies upon diverse ethnographic studies as this one does. An innovative interdisciplinary contribution to ethnomusicology."--Rosemary J. Coombe, Senior Canada Research Chair in Law, Communication and Culture, York University


Andrew N. Weintraub is an associate professor of music at the University of Pittsburgh and the author of Power Plays: Wayang Golek Puppet Theater of West Java. Bell Yung is a professor of music, the former director of the Asian Studies Center at the University of Pittsburgh, and the author of The Last of China's Literati: The Music, Poetry, and Life of Tsar Teh-yun.

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