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Special Issue: “Communities and Cultures”

Manuscript submission deadline: 15 September 2014

Date of expected publication: no later than June 2015

This special issue of Ethnologies addresses the dynamic ways in which expressive cultural practices are a part of communities and cultures. Special attention will be given to music, dance and digital media practices and the ways in which they intersect with aspects of identity and experience (ethnicity, race, gender, class and region, language, religion, etc).

We encourage original contributions in three major areas. (1) The first is an emphasis on music and dance as embodied, multi-sensorial practices; (2) second, we are interested in a combined focus on music and movement, particularly those about which there are historical silences. (3) Third, we seek contributions based on critical inquiry and experimentation through creative and collaborative, innovative and digital means of, research practice. All of these forms of analysis share the same spirit of inquiry; that performances of music, dance and cultural histories have irreducible differences that may be further explicated through interdisciplinary and intercultural dialogue.

Music, dance and digital media are vibrant “discursive fields” (Foucault) through which numerous interlocutors, processes, practices, statements and performances operate and continually and fluidly reshape one another – they are contingent on several intersecting and mutually affecting aspects of experience. By looking to the lacunae of history, the very ideas of identity, nationhood, or conceptual “ways of thinking that are invested in ways of acting” (de Certeau 1984) are transformed by considering these lacunae. Brought to light are the ways in which individuals, communities and their expressions and representations have functioned within cultural webs along the many avenues they have travelled, revealing shared practices and ideologies within specific locales and beyond.

There is a burgeoning literature on the topic, notably by scholars engaging together with communities in research on intangible cultural heritage; and on heritage, both cultural and natural, as a practice. One recently published collection, edited by Smith and Akagawa (Intangible Heritage, 2009), provides a number of fine examples of such research. In this volume, scholars engage with communities vis a vis the Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention (ICHC), considering implications of the ICHC on the political, cultural and human rights of communities and their members. The consequences of heritage practices, such as “safeguarding,” for the political and cultural aspirations of communities is also considered; as are the management and curatorial practices related to heritage, sometimes focusing on the unique circumstances of Indigenous communities. And the involvement – or marginalization – of communities in heritage practices is also explored. This special issue of Ethnologies seeks to contribute to, and expand upon, this growing literature.

Canada Research Chair in Communities and Cultures, Marcia Ostashewski (Cape Breton University), will serve as guest editor for this special issue. To have your submission considered for publication, please send it in .doc format to her (, copying the journal’s main editor, Laurier Turgeon (, and Van Troi Tran (, his assistant – by 15 September 2014. Authors whose contributions are accepted for publication will be asked to submit final drafts by January 2015; the journal expects to publish this special issue by June 2015.