An expansion of my 2022 Charles Seeger Lecture, “On Survival” unfolds as a set of reflections on the moment in the history of ethnomusicology that has followed intense periods of response to the COVID-19 pandemic and of racial self-reckoning worldwide. While examining common concerns and practices for ethnomusicology as a field, I do not propose a new theory or method, but rather I argue for the unity of the field rather than the separation of approaches into subdisciplines. The common ground of the present ethnomusicological moment, like that of the past to which ethnomusicologists now return, lies in a fundamental concern for ethical practice and moral purpose. Throughout the article, I draw upon case studies, many from my own ethnographic and historical work, especially from my research in and performances of music of the Shoah, to claim affinity between the fields of ethnomusicology and moral philosophy. These affinities emerge from common engagement with the moral dimensions of survival: trauma, mourning, border crossing, goodness, cohabitation with others in the Anthropocene, transcendence.

The video clips are available here: https://files.press.uillinois.edu/journals/supplemental/ethno/seeger_lecture/

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