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Columbus Ohio 2007

October 25-28, 2007
The Society for Ethnomusicology
51st Annual Conference- Decolonizing Ethnomusicology


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The City of Columbus, Ohio

Columbus Ohio, the place for the 2007 meeting of our society, is the 15th largest city in the U.S. and one of the fastest growing metro areas in the Midwest. Known in the nineteenth century as the Buggy Capital of the World, the city is now a major industrial center with headquarters of businesses as diverse as Japanese auto manufacturers such as Honda, the Budweiser brewery, retailing giants such as The Limited, Victoria Secrets and Abercrombie & Fitch, fast food chains, major banks and important software makers. It was here in Columbus that the Compuserve company began offering e-mail services in 1979, an indispensable part of our daily life today. It was also here at the Battelle Institute that the process of xerography was invented, another absolute necessity of our academic life today. The city and its environs boast of several important institutions of higher learning, most of all the Ohio State University, our hosting institution, which is the largest single-campus university in the U.S. (more than 57,000 students) and a world-class research university.

The conference hotel is Hyatt at Capitol Square, located in the center of the downtown district, one block of North High Street, the main north-south artery in the city. The hotel is adjacent to the beautifully restored Ohio Theater, an ornate music-hall from the 1920s, all decked out in gold-leaf Art Nouveau filigree, now the home of the Columbus Symphony. Not far from the hotel is an area now called the Arena/Entertainment District, where among other attractions one finds the home of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. Within walking distance is the North Market with daily-replenished wonders of the local farmers, coffee shops, restaurants, and more. North of the market is the Short North, Columbus answer to SoHo and Greenwich Village, with numerous galleries and the concomitant coffee houses, bars, boutiques, and nightclubs, appealing to almost any orientation or persuasion.

OSU Campus

The Wexner Center. Photo Courtesy of Rod Berry

A few miles further North along the High Street is the main campus of Ohio State University, where all conference events of Saturday afternoon will take place. While on campus, a “must see” for those interested in contemporary architecture is Wexner Center for the Arts, Peter Eisenman’s example of early “deconstructionist” architecture. The Wexner Center annually showcases an admirable array of national and international stars in visual and performing arts.

South of the hotel is the Southern Theater, a restored gem of the 19th-century beauty with wonderful acoustics, a natural place for music and dance performances. Nearby the hotel, one also finds several theaters, along with the Columbus Opera, Columbus Ballet, and nationally renowned COSI Museum of Science, to mention some other possible points of interests.

With the influx of German immigrants to Columbus in the 19th century who settled in the southern part of the city, known then as the Alte Sud Ende and now known as German Village, the brewer’s art has become a center of activity, briefly interrupted by prohibition. It now offers several micro-breweries all centered in the Brewery District. A uniquely transformed old former firehouse in German Village is now home of the Columbus Music Hall, which offers its elegant space to daily performances of jazz and popular music by local and guest musicians.

A thriving metropolitan city of 1.6 million people from all over the world, Columbus offers diverse cultural experiences. Every summer the city hosts a well-known Ohio State Fair, the International Festival, international electronic music and women's music festivals, among others. Apart from Minnesota, Columbus hosts one of the largest Somali immigrant populations, and there about 21,000 Asian Indians in Columbus who actively support Hindustani and Carnatic musical traditions. Asian, Latino, African, Korean, Irish, Oktoberfest, Italian, Indian festivals, to name a few, are annual celebrations of the cultural heterogeneity and changing demographic patterns of the metropolitan area.

For those who prefer musical entertainment during our meeting, a variety of performances by local musicians, stars, faculty and students of the OSU School of Music will take place at the hotel and the campus area. Fans of old-time music and dance will have an opportunity to participate in a special workshop, while those who prefer ballroom dancing will have an opportunity to dance and listen to a terrific Columbus-based group Yumbambé Latin Salsa Jazz. In addition, participants in the 2007 SEM meeting can take their pick of many other divertissements, ranging from theater (the Contemporary American Theater Co., Ohio State University Theater Department productions, 2 Co’s Cabaret) to art (Columbus Museum of Fine Arts, Wexner Center, contemporary arts exhibits at small galleries) and classical music (Columbus Symphony orchestra, Pro Musica chamber orchestra).

Located “in the heart” of the Heartland, Columbus is easily accessible from anywhere by bus (a Greyhound Bus station is located one block away from the hotel), car or airplane. It is served by most of the major carriers and a number of small airlines. Local transportation and the hotel rates negotiated for the convention are quite reasonable.

SEM Columbus 2007 will offer a rich variety of experiences for everyone attending. Intellectual, artistic and cultural encounters, like their culinary counterparts, will appeal to a broad range of interests, tastes, and pockets. Please check the SEM web site for further information and announcements.

Requests from interest groups for meeting rooms should be sent to Jennifer Gentry.

Questions regarding the program, please direct to the SEM 2007 Program Committee, chaired by Margaret Kartomi.

Questions about the Symposium and other local events please send to the Local Arrangements Committee, chaired by Margarita Mazo at SEM-2007@osu.edu.



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Last updated: January 18, 2007