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RAI Research Seminar: Matthew Machin-Autenrieth

March 11 2020 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm



Music, Protest and the Politics of Cultural Memory at the Día de la toma in Granada

Matthew Machin-Autenrieth (University of Cambridge) 

Wednesday 11 March at 5.30 pm

The Día de la toma [Day of the Taking] is an annual festival held on the 2nd January that celebrates the Catholic reconquest of the Islamic Nasrid Kingdom of Granada in 1492, which resulted in the final collapse of Muslim rule in Spain, the expulsion of Jews and the forced conversion of Muslims. In recent years, the festival has become politicised as a platform for both ultra-nationalist, anti-immigration groups and Andalusian regionalist protest movements that seek to convert the event into a ‘festival of tolerance’ through the exaltation of Andalusia’s interfaith past (Dietz, 2004: 1102). From Franco-era fascist anthems, to political chants and flamenco fusions, music and sound are an integral feature of the festival and serve conflicting readings of the cultural memory of pre-reconquest Spain.
Drawing on fieldwork at the Día de la toma in 2019, I examine the ‘soundtrack’ of the festival, both in terms of the structural functioning of the event and how music and sound are used by different groups to politicise cultural memory. In dialogue with recent work on the relationship between music and politics, sound studies and affect, I argue that musical and sonic protests are employed to delineate conflicting political and territorial positions in a country that is increasingly polarised along regionalist vs nationalist and multiculturalist vs nativist lines. Moreover, I contend that the festival highlights a general ambivalence towards the city’s Moroccan community; a community that often feels connected to Granada’s Muslim past and in turn isolated by the Día de la toma. Therefore, I consider the ways in which Granada’s Moroccan community is both sounded and silenced in the context of the festival.

Matthew Machin-Autenrieth is a Senior Research Associate at the Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge and the Principal Investigator for the European Research Council-funded project ‘Past and Present Musical Encounters across the Strait of Gibraltar’ (2018–23). Matthew completed his Masters and PhD in Ethnomusicology at Cardiff University.

This event is free, but tickets must be booked. To book tickets please go to https://matthewmachin-autenrieth.eventbrite.co.uk 

Location : Royal Anthropological Institute
50 Fitzroy Street
United Kingdom


March 11 2020
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
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