Mohammed Arkoun is Emeritus Professor of the History of Islamic Thought, La Sorbonne, Paris, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Ismaili Studies, London, and Officer of the French Legion of Honor. An eminent scholar of Islamic history and culture from the medieval to the contemporary period, his academic career has spanned several universities across Algeria, France, and the rest of the world, including UCLA, Louvain-La-Neuve University, Belgium, the Pontifical Institute of Arabic Studies in Rome, Princeton University, Temple University, Philadelphia, the University of Amsterdam, the Wissenschaftkolleg in Berlin, and the Institute of Advanced Studies in Princeton. He has lectured widely all over the world, having delivered, for instance, the University of Edinburgh Gifford Lectures 2001/02, entitled “Inaugurating a critique of Islamic reason”. Polyglot, secular, and a modernist and critical voice in the contemporary Islamic world, he is associated with several European initiatives to rethink and reshape the relationship between Europe, Islam, and the Mediterranean world. He is the author of over 40 monographs in Arabic, English, French, Dutch and Bahasa Indonesia, including Rethinking Islam (Boulder, Col., 1994), and The unthought in contemporary Islamic thought (London, 2002). Islam: to Reform or to Subvert? London 2006; Humanisme et islam. Combats et Propositions, Vrin, Paris 2006; Pour sortir des clôtures dogmatiques, Grancher, Paris 2007.
John Baily is Professor in Musicology at Goldsmiths’ College, University of London. He originally studied psychology and physiology at Oxford University, 1962-65. In 1970 he gained a doctorate in experimental psychology at the University of Sussex for research on human spatial orientation, sensori-motor coordination, and motor control; and in 1973 he began his long association with anthropologist and ethnomusicologist John Blacking at The Queen’s University of Belfast, with research on the relationship between human movement and music structure. Supported by an SSRC Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship, he carried out a year’s fieldwork on long-necked lutes in the city of Herat, in western Afghanistan. The local instrument, called dutâr (meaning literally “two strings”), had undergone dramatic morphological transformations between 1950 and 1965, and these were studied in terms of the (changing) morphology of the instrument, the patterns of movement used to play it, and the structure of the music produced. This research showed how particular kinds of music are adapted to the spatial layouts of certain instruments, and suggested that musical cognition may involve thinking in movement, rather than simply in terms of sound.
In 1976 John Baily returned to Afghanistan for a second year of fieldwork, this time on the anthropology of music in Herat (leading eventually to a doctorate in social anthropology from Queen’s University Belfast, 1988). After a year as a Senior Associate Member in the Middle East Centre of St Antony’s College, Oxford, he was appointed Lecturer in Ethnomusicology at Queen’s University Belfast. In 1984 he was awarded a Leverhulme Film Training Fellowship by the Royal Anthropological Institute at the National Film and Television School, and directed two feature-length 16mm documentary films, Amir: An Afghan Refugee Musician’s Life in Peshawar, Pakistan, and Lessons from Gulam: Asian Music in Bradford. In 1988, after two years as a Visiting Research Fellow in the School for African and Asian Studies at the University of Sussex, he was appointed Associate Professor in the Center for Ethnomusicology at Columbia University, New York. In 1990 he moved to Goldsmiths’ College, University of London.
As a musician John Baily has been playing the Afghan lutes the dutâr and the rubâb for the last 25 years and is acclaimed by Afghans as a performer of their traditional music. He has published widely on the music of Afghanistan, including several CDs of field and studio recordings of Afghan music. His other main research interests are musical cognition, music and the human body, ethnomusicological film making, and music in the South Asian communities in the UK.
Martin Clayton is Professor in Ethnomusicology and Director of Research (Music) at the Open University (OU). He studied at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, where he obtained degrees in Music and Hindi (BA, 1988) and Ethnomusicology (PhD, 1993). His research interests include Hindustani (North Indian) classical music, rhythmic analysis, comparative musicology and early field recordings, British-Asian music and Western music in India. He has taught a wide range of ethnomusicological courses at numerous other UK universities, besides contributing to OU teaching materials, and worked as Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago. He is a member of the Music sub-panel for the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise. He is currently director of the “Experience and meaning in music performance” research project, which is funded by the Arts and Humanities Award Council. He is also co-organiser of a British Academy-funded international network dedicated to the study of entrainment in music with Dr Ian Cross (University of Cambridge) and Professor Udo Will (Ohio State University).
Laudan Nooshin is Senior Lecturer in Music at City University, London. She gained her BA in Music from the University of Leeds in 1984 and her MMus in Ethnomusicology from Goldsmiths’ College, University of London, in 1986, where she also taught between 1987 and 1991. Her PhD thesis (Goldsmiths’ College, 1996) was a study of creative performance in Iranian classical music. Prior to joining City, Laudan taught in the Department of Performing Arts at Brunel University between 1993 and 2003, where she was Course Director for Music from 2001-3. Laudan has carried out fieldwork both in Iran – in 1999, 2000 and 2002, for which she received funding from the British Institute of Persian Studies – and among Iranians in the UK.
Her research interests include: Creative processes in improvisation and composition, with particular reference to Iranian music; contemporary developments in Iranian traditional and popular musics; music and power especially globalisation, post/neo-colonialism, orientalism and the politics of representation, particularly representation of Islam and the Middle East post 9/11; music as resistance; music and corporate global capitalism; music and ethnicity/cultural identity, with specific reference to Iranians in the UK; gender issues, with particular reference to the work of contemporary women musicians in Iran; and music and healing.
Laudan regularly reviews CDs for the world music magazine Songlines and is often contacted for advice and information on Iranian music. She has acted as a consultant on Iranian music to the Horniman Museum and is regularly invited to present research seminars at UK universities. Laudan has convened a number of conferences for the British Forum for Ethnomusicology and is currently on the Editorial Boards for the journals Twentieth Century Music (Cambridge University Press) and Ethnomusicology Forum (Routledge).
Jeanne Openshaw has been Senior Lecturer and Convener of Religious Studies at Edinburgh University since 2005. Her background is in Social Anthropology, and she was previously at SOAS, Cambridge and Manchester. Since the 1970s, she has been interested in contemporary South Asian religious traditions. Her research has involved several years’ social anthropological fieldwork in West Bengal, as well as the study of relevant languages, especially Bengali, and associated literature. Initially her primary concern was ‘Hindu’ Goddesses, their devotees and sacred centres. Subsequently the focus of her work shifted to the Bauls, who recruit from both ‘Hindu’ (Vaishnava) and ‘Muslim’ (Fakir) communities, and who are known primarily through their beautiful and often enigmatic songs. These songs reveal a dual concern: with social and religious radicalism and with esoteric body-centred practices. Her current research interests focus on modern religious movements in Bengal, especially the Bauls and related dissenting traditions (Hindu and Muslim), Vaishnava renunciation, and Tantra. Her groundbreaking monograph, Seeking Bauls of Bengal, was recently awarded the Rabindranath Tagore Memorial Award from the Pascimbanga Bangla Akademi, Kolkata. The PBA is modelled upon the Academie Française and gives awards for outstanding excellence in the field of creative and non-fiction works in Bengali or concerning Bengal.
At present she is working on autobiography and renunciation, and caste. She is also preparing a translation of hybrid Hindu-Muslim Baul songs of Bengal, with annotations, commentaries and discussion. The volume will focus on relatively neglected topics, that is, radical and dissenting songs.
Martin Stokes is currently Lecturer in Ethnomusicology at the University of Oxford, where he is also Fellow and Tutor in Music at St John’s College. Having received his DPhil from Oxford in 1989, he was appointed Lecturer in Ethnomusicology at the Queen’s University of Belfast from 1989–97, and Associate Professor at the University of Chicago (1997-2006). A specialist in the musics of the contemporary Middle East, circum-Mediterranean and North West Europe, his recent work has explored issues of space, place, movement, nationalism, globalization, ethnicity, race and identity, sentiment, emotion and violence. His books include The Arabesk Debate: Music and Musicians in Modern Turkey (1992), and Ethnicity, Identity and Music: The Musical Construction of Place (1997). He is currently completing The Republic of Love: Transformations of Intimacy in Turkish Popular Culture, and working on a biography of Abd al-Halim Hafiz with Joel Gordon.
Richard Kent Wolf, (Professor). An ethnomusicologist who has devoted his career to the interdisciplinary study of South Asian musical traditions, Richard K. Wolf has written broadly about classical, folk and tribal musical traditions in South India as well as on musical traditions associated with Shi'ism and Sufism in North India and Pakistan. Since his first study visit to India in 1982, Wolf has lived and conducted research in South Asia for seven-and-a-half years. More recently, Wolf’s interest in South Asia has expanded westward into Iran, and his work has concerned sociomusical processes that transcend the borders of South Asia. This is reflected in his edited volume, Theorizing the Local: Music, Practice, and Experience in South Asia and Beyond (Oxford University Press, New York: 2009) (www.oup.com/us/theorizingthelocal). Wolf is also the author of the book The Black Cow's Footprint: Time, Space, and Music in the Lives of the Kotas of South India (Permanent Black, 2005 and University of Illinois Press, 2006), which was awarded the Edward Cameron Dimock, Jr. Prize in the Humanities. He has been the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, including recently those of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Social Science Research Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Institute of Pakistan Studies. In addition to writing and teaching, Wolf also performs on the South Indian vina; his is a disciple of Ranganayaki Rajagopalan, a renowned vina player in the Karaikkudi style. Wolf is currently Professor of Music at Harvard University.