Lecture by Clare Suet Ching Chan, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Faculty of Music and Performing Arts
Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Malaysia
Ecoperformativity in the Song, Music, and Dance Tradition of the Indigenous Mah Meri of Malaysia
Abstract: In a time of global warming, this lecture amplifies the indigenous Mah Meri’s concerns regarding environmental degradation and the disregard of their traditional values that emphasize sustained harmonious living between humanity and other species. Main Jo’oh, the song, music, and dance tradition of the Mah Meri of Carey Island in Malaysia provides a unique perspective into their symbiotic relationships with nature and how modern Malaysian economic development is impacting the natural biodiversity of their homeland. The Mah Meri also call for a return to their indigenous values of sustainable communityship as their people become increasingly drawn to the hegemonic culture of individualism permeating society today.
Clare Suet Ching Chan completed her Ph.D. in music (ethnomusicology) from the University of Hawai`i at Manoa in 2010. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship (2005-2007), the Asia–Pacific Graduate Fellowship in Ethnomusicology from the University of Hawai`i at Manoa (2005-2007), the East-West Center Graduate Degree Fellowship (2008-2010), and the Sumi Makey Scholars Award for Arts and Humanities (2008) for her Ph.D. studies. Clare was the Deputy Dean of Research and Graduate Studies at the Faculty of Music and Performing Arts in Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) from 2011-2017. She is now an associate professor at UPSI and is the chief editor of the Malaysian Journal of Music. Clare is also an executive committee member of the Southeast Asian Directors of Music Congress (SEADOM) and is the International Council of Traditional Music (ICTM) national liaison officer for Malaysia. Her research interests include issues of applied ethnomusicology, heritage education advocacy, nationalism, tourism, postmodernism and digitalization in music. She has won several innovative education awards and has published on Chinese and indigenous Orang Asli music of Malaysia.
Part of the Nazir Ali Jairazbhoy Colloquium Series, sponsored by The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music Department of Ethnomusicology