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Cultural Sustainabilities

Music, Media, Language, Advocacy

A daring interdisciplinary journey into the nexus of the humanities and ecological science

Environmental sustainability and human cultural sustainability are inextricably linked. Reversing damaging human impact on the global environment is ultimately a cultural question, and as with politics, the answers are often profoundly local. Timothy J. Cooley presents twenty-three essays by musicologists and ethnomusicologists, anthropologists, folklorists, ethnographers, documentary filmmakers, musicians, artists, and activists, each asking a particular question or presenting a specific local case study about cultural and environmental sustainability. Contributing to the environmental humanities, the authors embrace and even celebrate human engagement with ecosystems, though with a profound sense of collective responsibility created by the emergence of the Anthropocene.

Contributors: Aaron S. Allen, Michael B. Bakan, Robert Baron, Daniel Cavicchi, Timothy J. Cooley, Mark F. DeWitt, Barry Dornfeld, Thomas Faux, Burt Feintuch, Nancy Guy, Mary Hufford, Susan Hurley-Glowa, Patrick Hutchinson, Michelle Kisliuk, Pauleena M. MacDougall, Margarita Mazo, Dotan Nitzberg, Jennifer C. Post, Tom Rankin, Roshan Samtani, Jeffrey A. Summit, Jeff Todd Titon, Joshua Tucker, Rory Turner, Denise Von Glahn, and Thomas Walker


"Written to introduce the reader to the universal practice of 'musicking' and the influence of real-time environmental upheaval on its conception and performance, and the physical and technological systems that support and maintain its integrity, the scope and scale of the literature illuminates the immense challenges of survival in a time of climatic upheaval." --Environmental Values

"Cultural Sustainabilities is a must read for those interested in ecomusicology and will serve as a valuable resource for scholars in the environmental humanities writ large. . . . Students encountering Cultural Sustainabilities will be inspired to explore, advocate, and create a more equitable and pleasurable 'sound commons.'"--Mark Pedelty, author of A Song to Save the Salish Sea: Musical Performance as Environmental Activism

"The topic of sustainability is of broad interest across many disciplines and activities in this era of rapid climate change, globalized communications, and musical transformations. Music and sustainability is a new area and there are very few publications on the subject, and none as large and as well conceived as this one. It promises to make a significant addition."--Anthony Seeger, author of Why Suyá Sing: A Musical Anthropology of an Amazonian People

Publication supported by a grant from the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts, University of California, Santa Barbara.


Timothy J. Cooley is a professor of music and global studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of Surfing about Music and Making Music in the Polish Tatras: Tourists, Ethnographers, and Mountain Musicians, and a coeditor of Shadows in the Field: New Perspectives for Fieldwork in Ethnomusicology, second edition.

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