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Encoding, Absorption and Abandonment of Cultural Material during Migration: : The Case of Judeo-Spanish Songbooks

Encoding, Absorption and Abandonment of Cultural Material during Migration: : The Case of Judeo-Spanish Songbooks

Objective

Since the 18th century throughout the Mediterranean basin Judeo-Spanish men and women have notated songs they want to remember in personal songbooks. Both Oriental (Ottoman Empire) and Occidental (North Africa & Gibraltar) Judeo-Spanish communities still have an enormous sung repertoire which plays a core function as identity marker. It is also centrally positioned for symbolic roles and gender negotiations. Historically, this repertoire was notated in songbooks which were created both for personal use or for transmission to their descendants.
The porousness of repertoire found within these private books which function as objects of orality demonstrate the continued absorption and interpenetration of languages and cultural references during various centuries. Songbooks served as cultural reminders of the layered identities that Judeo-Spanish speakers sought to preserve. While keeping traditional repertoire, the writers of these songbooks simultaneously absorbed important musical elements from their surroundings, demonstrating a multiplicity of cultural codes that coexist dynamically. This continual construction of their seemingly opposing roles as preservers and innovators of repertoire breaks all attempts at strict regionalism, while ensuring that certain traditional specificities remain untouched and unchanged.
The scholarship on these songbooks and their content has only been done on an individual basis, focusing on philology or ethnomusicological issues regarding contrafacta. This ground-breaking proposed study will analyze the individual songbooks as parts of a larger pan-Mediterranean corpus of Judeo-Spanish songbooks which negotiate identity transmission in an inclusive manner absorbing elements of the surrounding cultures while protecting the boundaries of the group. Through this study, I propose to elucidate transnational patterns of repertoire encoding, absorption and abandonment which can serve as a seminal theory for other mobile minority communities.
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Coordinator

INSTITUT NATIONAL DES LANGUES ET CIVILISATIONS ORIENTALES

Address

65 Rue Des Grands Moulins
75214 Paris

France

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 196 707,84

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 846205

Status

Grant agreement signed

  • Start date

    1 April 2020

  • End date

    31 March 2022

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.3.2.

  • Overall budget:

    € 196 707,84

  • EU contribution

    € 196 707,84

Coordinated by:

INSTITUT NATIONAL DES LANGUES ET CIVILISATIONS ORIENTALES

France