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October 25-28, 2007
The Society for Ethnomusicology
53rd Annual Conference - Ethnomusicology Beyond Disciplines


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Wesleyan University and Middletown
Middletown, CT. Wesleyan University is in the foreground. To the right of the baseball field is the Olin Library. To the left of the field is the Usdan University Center. To the upper left of the Usdan Center is the Center for the Arts complex of buildings. The Connecticut River is in the background. Main Street runs left-right a few blocks in from the river, several blocks away from the campus. Photo courtesy of American Aerials Photos.

Wesleyan University and Middletown, CT

Wesleyan University, the host of the 2008 meeting, was founded as a liberal arts institution in 1831 by Methodist leaders and Middletown citizens. In 1937, Wesleyan became fully independent of the Methodist church. Known throughout its history for curricular innovation, Wesleyan is home to one of the earliest ethnomusicology programs in the country, with undergraduate and MA theses on South Indian, Native American, Irish, Jewish, Indonesian, Japanese, African, and experimental music, blues, and jazz written in the 1960s. The first Wesleyan ethnomusicology PhD was granted in 1971 (to Ashenafi Kebede). The Society for Ethnomusicology met here in 1975 with David McAllester and Judith Becker as Local Arrangements and Program Committee Chairs, respectively.

The current music department faculty, which has trained scores of ethnomusicologists, dates from the 1960s (Abraham Adzenyah), 1970s (Mark Slobin, Sumarsam, I. Harjito), 1990s (Su Zheng, Eric Charry), and 2000s (David Nelson, B. Balasubrahmaniyan). Other longterm areas of specialization include experimental music, composition, creative music, and jazz (Alvin Lucier, Anthony Braxton, Neely Bruce, Ron Kuivila, Jay Hoggard). Our 16-member fulltime faculty is rounded out by experts in musicology/theory (Jane Alden, Yonatan Malin) and conducting (Angel Gil-Ordóñez). Wesleyan has long stressed the integration of performance and scholarship and has an unusually large number of ensembles (called performance study groups) that span the globe. Wesleyan’s dance department offers training in West African, African American, South Indian, Javanese, and Euro-American modern dance.

Wesleyan University and Middletown
Fayerweather Hall on the left (housing Beckham Hall) and the Usdan University Center on the right. Photo by Bill Burkhart.

All conference events will be held on the Wesleyan campus, primarily in the Center for the Arts (which houses the four music department buildings), adjacent Usdan University Center (click here for a live web camera view ), and University Chapel. Wesleyan’s Freeman Athletic Center will be available to conference participants, featuring indoor swimming, ice skating (bring your skates), squash, tennis, basketball, a running track and fitness center, and outdoor playing fields. A computer lab and free campus wireless access will also be available.

Middletown, with a population of 43,000, is larger than a college town, yet it retains a small-town intimacy. Located in central Connecticut, Middletown is midway between Hartford and New Haven, and 2 hours by car from New York and Boston. The Metro-North Railroad runs frequently between New Haven and New York City. Amtrak’s Meriden station is closer, although tickets are more expensive and trains run less often. Peter Pan Bus Lines serves Middletown, but not with great frequency.

Main Street, Middletown, just a 5-minute walk from the Wesleyan campus, features a wide variety of moderately priced restaurants and bars. The Connecticut River is just a few more minutes away, with a promenade and restaurant. Lyman Orchards, which features farm fresh food, is in neighboring Middlefield. Like many New England towns, Middletown has a long history dating back to the 1600s.

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

Please direct questions regarding the program to the SEM 2008 Program Committee, chaired by Jeffrey Summit.

Please direct questions about the preconference and other local events to the Local Arrangements Committee, chaired by Eric Charry.


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Web inquires: semconf@indiana.edu
Phone: 800.933.9330 (within U.S.) or 812.855.4661 (outside U.S.)
Last updated: January 13, 2008