Eliot Bates, 30 October 2014

Title of the Talk: Village – Environment – Studio: ‘Doga için Çal’ and the Cartographies of Modern Turkey

When? Thursday 30 October 2014 (17:00-18:30)

Where? Ertegun House, St Giles, University of Oxford

Speaker: Eliot Bates (Lecturer in Ethnomusicology and Popular Music Studies, University of Birmingham)

Abstract: Doga için Çal, literally ‘play for nature’, is a video series featuring hundreds of amateur and professional musicians ostensibly playing or singing for environmentalism. This highly acclaimed, corporate sponsored series quickly went viral after its initial segment aired online in 2011. But the specific political valences of the project are unclear, and in many regards Doga için Çal, with its uncontroversial folksong repertoire and absence of any ethnic language songs, is quite conservative. I argue that the series is perfectly ‘natural’ with regards to Turkey’s nearly ninety-year history of state-driven national folklore projects. Rather than a radical departure, Doga için Çal serves to ‘remap’ both Turkish nationalized folklore and the practices and spaces of the recording studio onto the Turkish Republic and Turkish diaspora – and in doing so heralds the ‘death of the village’ and underscores the asymmetrical economic development of different regions. My talk uses these videos to explore the audible aspects of how maps and mapping practices come to make space more sensible.

Speaker Biography: Eliot Bates specializes in the ethnography of digital audio production, and has done extensive field research in recordings studios in Turkey (since 2004) and California (since 1999). Besides his research interests he is also a performer and recording artist of the Anatolian oud (`ud).


Event hosted as part of the Seminar in Ethnomusicology and Sound Studies Series, based at St John’s College, University of Oxford.

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