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IU/OSU Folklore and Ethnomusicology Conference: The Familiar and the Obscure
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4/10/2015 to 4/11/2015
When: 4/10/2015
Where: Indiana University
Bloomington, Indiana 
United States

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Keynote Address: Dr. David Novak (University of California, Santa Barbara)

The Eighth Annual Folklore and Ethnomusicology Joint University Conference, sponsored by the Folklore and Ethnomusicology Student Associations of Indiana University and The Ohio State University Folklore Student Association, will be held April 10-11, 2015, on the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington. The conference creates a collaborative and supportive workspace for graduate and undergraduate students to share their research in folklore, ethnomusicology, anthropology, cultural studies, material culture, performance studies, and related disciplines connected to the study of the expressive vernacular culture of everyday life.

In Ethnography and the Historical Imagination (1992), Jean and John Comaroff write, "Ethnography serves at once to make the familiar strange and the strange familiar, all the better to understand them both” (p. 6). This year, we consider the familiar and the obscure as categories of knowledge commonly invoked in folkloristics, ethnomusicology, and adjacent disciplines. Bound within texts, sounds, performances, and customs, the familiar and the obscure orient us toward our analytical subjects. The aim in examining these categories is to engage academic and vernacular understandings and representations of self and other; central and peripheral;­­­­ and official and unofficial. Specifically:

  • What constitutes the familiar and/or the obscure?
  • What ethical concerns inform our understanding of these categories?
  • How are these concepts taken up in various cultural modes and meaning-making processes?
  • How do the familiar and the obscure intersect in the texts and contexts of everyday life?
  • In what ways might our research practices reinforce or challenge concepts of the familiar or the obscure?

There are three avenues for participation. In addition to customary 20-minute paper presentations, there will also be a poster session, and shorter 10-minute presentations for works-in-progress.Potential contributors must submit abstracts of 250 words for all individual presentation formats. For those submitting panel topics, please include both a 250 abstract for the whole panel in addition to abstracts and institutional affiliations for each individual paper.

The deadline for abstract submissions is Sunday, January 25, 2015. Submissions from diverse areas of study are welcome. In addition to including a 250-word abstract, presenters are asked to submit their preferred presentation format, any audio, visual or other needs for the presentation, and contact information and university affiliation. Please submit all abstracts online at:

Registration for this event is free, at

For more information on the details of the conference, email or visit in the coming months.

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