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Transforming Ethnomusicology Volume IMethodologies, Institutional Structures, and Policies$
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Beverley Diamond and Salwa El-Shawan Castelo-Branco

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780197517604

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780197517604.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 02 December 2021

On Not Knowing

On Not Knowing

Academically Based Community Service, Faith-Based Organizations, and the Transformation of Ethnomusicological Praxis

(p.151) 9 On Not Knowing
Transforming Ethnomusicology Volume I

Carol Ann Muller

Nina C. Öhman

Oxford University Press

The Department of Music of the University of Pennsylvania has an ongoing research partnership with several faith-based organizations in the Philadelphia area. At the core of this partnership, ethnomusicology professors are leading academically based community service (ABCS) classes in which students engage with local Christian and Islamic communities in order to produce ethnographic films that document the history and musical practices of these communities. The chapter discusses the authors’ experiences in ABCS work, with a focus on gospel music research projects and studies of the relationship between music, spirituality, and Islam. A second project explored the ways in which young members of an Islamic community partnership organization engaged with hip-hop culture. The process described can be best characterized by an idea of “creative uncertainty.” Drawing on growing literature in visual arts that takes the position of “not knowing” as a strategy of engagement, the authors suggest that the production of community research through principles and processes of academically based community service and engagement are best served if researchers know how little they know, and are humbly open to what they might learn, while willing to share expertise they may have to jointly create narratives of community history and belonging in dialogue with members of neighborhood faith-based organizations.

Keywords:   community partnership, uncertainty, hip–hop, Islamic spirituality, gospel music, Philadelphia, humility

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