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Queering Freedom: Music, Identity and Spirituality

(Anthology with perspectives from over ten countries)


Edited By Karin Hendricks and June Boyce-Tillman

This book is intended to challenge the status quo of music learning and experience by intersecting various musical topics with discussions of spirituality and queer studies. Spanning from the theoretical to the personal, the authors utilize a variety of approaches to query how music makers might blend spirituality’s healing and wholeness with queer theory’s radical liberation.

Queering Freedom: Music, Identity and Spirituality represents an eclectic mix of historical, ethnomusicological, case study, narrative, ethnodramatic, philosophical, theological, and theoretical contributions. The book reaches an international audience, with invited authors from around the world who represent the voices and perspectives of over ten countries. The authors engage with policy, practice, and performance to critically address contemporary and historical music practices. Through its broad and varied writing styles and representations, the collection aims to shift perspectives of possibility and invite readers to envision a fresh, organic, and more holistic musical experience.

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Invocation: Queering Freedom (Karin S. Hendricks / June Boyce-Tillman)


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Invocation: Queering Freedom

Topics of spirituality and queer theory have a long history as uneasy bedfellows, due in part to the role of various religious traditions in appropriating the former and suppressing the latter. This relationship becomes even more complex when we add the discourse of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, asexual, intersex, pansexual, questioning, and queer (LGBTAAIPQQ)1 musicians and their allies, who – while making up a substantial portion of musical artists throughout history – have traditionally been subjugated in religious circles as well as mainstream society.

Music scholars have recently become more open to discussions of spirituality in music and education, as pedagogical and societal attention has turned to the socio-emotional wellbeing of children, and as spiritual experience has been recognized as distinct in its own right from any particular religious influence. Meanwhile, the recent liberation of queer identity from a place of condemnation (religious and otherwise) has led to a similar emergence of topics in music scholarship.

Through queer inquiry, we have an opportunity to see spirituality and music anew: As we deconstruct dualisms and culturally-assumed labels, we come to embrace musics and pedagogical methods previously judged as nontraditional, incorrect, mysterious, or strange. We further envision a liberating wholeness in which fragmented or formerly rejected parts of musical experience are balanced, integrated, and even celebrated. In this book we bridge the healing and wholeness of spirituality with the radical liberation of queer...

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