1st Edition

The Routledge Companion to Music and Human Rights

    548 Pages 56 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    548 Pages 56 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Routledge Companion to Music and Human Rights is a collection of case studies spanning a wide range of concerns about music and human rights in response to intensifying challenges to the well-being of individuals, peoples, and the planet. It brings forward the expertise of academic researchers, lawyers, human rights practitioners, and performing musicians who offer critical reflection on how their work might identify, inform, or advance mutual interests in their respective fields. The book is comprised of 28 chapters, interspersed with 23 ‘voices’ – portraits that focus on individuals’ intimate experiences with music in the defence or advancement of human rights – and explores the following four themes: 1) Fundamentals on music and human rights; 2) Music in pursuit of human rights; 3) Music as a means of violating human rights; 4) Human rights and music: intrinsic resonances.

    Table of Contents



    Part I Fundamentals on Human Rights and Music

    1 What Are Human Rights?

    Manfred Nowak

    Voice: Andra Matei (Romania/France)

    Voice: Sajad Sepehri (Iran/stateless)

    2 Why Music and Human Rights?

    Julian Fifer

    Voice: Saba Anglana (Somalia/Ethiopia/Italy)

    3 The Human Right to Music

    Noelle Higgins and Michael O’Flaherty

    Voice: Ramzi Aburedwan (Palestine)

    4 Music Education: Child Development and Human Rights

    Steven J. Holochwost and Elizabeth Stuk

    5 Censorship of Music

    Koen De Feyter

    Voice: Srirak Plipat (Thailand/Norway)

    6 The Right to Let Culture Die

    Trevor Reed

    7 Music Sustainability, Human Rights, and Future Justice

    Catherine Grant

    Voice: Joy-Leilani Garbutt (US)

    Part II Music in Pursuit of Human Rights

    8 Orality and the Poetics of Forgiveness in South Sudan

    Angela Impey

    9 Girls Can Dance Xigubu, Too: An Embodied Response to Gender-Based Violence in Mozambique

    Karen Boswall and Jane K. Cowan

    Voice: Ani Zonneveld (Malaysia/US)

    10 Reimagine: The Role of Popular Music in Overcoming Homophobia in Sub-Saharan Anglophone Africa

    Frans Viljoen

    Voice: Roshnie Moonsammy (South Africa)

    11 Rock Nacional in Argentina: Resistance to Censorship and Cultural Repression During the Military Dictatorship (1976–1983)

    Diego Lopez and Veronica Gomez

    Voice: Katia Chornik (Chile/UK) for Victor Jara (Chile)

    Voice: Erich Schneiderman (US) for Ramy Essam (Egypt/Sweden) and Shady Habash (Egypt)

    12 Silence, Complicity, and Forgotten Voices Heard

    Kelly Hall-Tompkins

    Voice: Katy Ambrose (US)

    Voice: Weston Sprott (US)

    13 Reinvoking Gran Bwa (Great Forest): Music, Environmental Justice, and a Vodou-Inspired Mission to Plant Trees Across Haiti

    Rebecca Dirksen

    14 Music and Human Rights: A Perspective From the Humanitarian Sector

    Teresa Hanley

    Voice: Laura Hassler (based in the Netherlands)

    15 Music and the Arts as Healing Power During and After the Siege of Sarajevo

    Manfred Nowak

    Voice: Merima Ključo (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

    16 Claiming Human Rights in Iraq: Reflections on the Creation of a Musicians’ Collective to Advance Freedom of Expression, Gender Equality, and Cultural Participation

    Luca Chiavinato

    Voice: Ibrahim Salama (Egypt)

    Voice: Iara Lee (Brazil/Korea/US)

    17 Music in Contexts of Incarceration: Perspectives From Javanese Gamelan Performance

    Maria Mendonça

    Voice: Molly Carr (US)

    18 Music Therapy and Human Rights Issues in the Clinic and the Community

    Brynjulf Stige

    Voice: Kanayo Ueda (Japan)

    Part III Music as a Means of Violating Human Rights

    19 Music Torture in the ‘War on Terror’

    Manfred Nowak

    20 Music, Terror, and Civilizing Projects in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region

    Rachel Harris and Aziz Isa Elkun

    21 Weaponized Music: Schubert, Interrogation, and Memory in Dorfman’s La muerte y la doncella

    Katja Stroke-Adolphe

    22 Sounds of a Caste-Ending Cultural Movement in Western India

    Rasika Ajotikar

    Voice: Casteless Collective (India)

    Part IV Human Rights and Music: Intrinsic Resonances

    23 The Sound of Human Rights: Wordless Music That Speaks for Humanity

    Bruce Adolphe

    24 Adorno Revisited: Aesthetic Theory, Politics, and Human Rights

    George Ulrich

    Voice: Lukas Ligeti (Austria/US)

    25 Decoding Viktor Ullmann’s Last Piano Sonata Through Legal Methodology

    Michael Wiener

    Voice: Jeff Janeczko (US)

    26 Music and a ‘Universal Culture of Human Rights’

    Peter G. Kirchschlaeger

    27 Don’t Just Sing About It: Choral Music in the Pursuit of Human Rights

    Justin Jalea and Alexander Lloyd Blake

    Voice: David A. McDonald (US)

    28 Human Rights and the Professional Musician in the Twenty-First Century

    Julian Fifer

    Voice: Mai Khôi (Vietnam)


    Interview with Alessio Allegrini

    Alessio Allegrini and George Ulrich



    Julian Fifer is Executive Director of Musicians For Human Rights. As cellist and founder of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, he conceived a method of orchestral music-making using democratic principles and collective leadership. The artistic outcomes have been documented by Deutsche Grammophon on 55 Orpheus recordings.

    Angela Impey is Professor of Ethnomusicology at SOAS, University of London and co-editor of the Routledge SOAS Studies in Music series. She has published widely on music and social justice in Africa, including the award-winning Song Walking: Women, Music, and Environmental Justice in an African Borderland.

    Peter G. Kirchschlaeger is Professor of Theological Ethics and Director of the Institute of Social Ethics ISE at the Faculty of Theology of the University of Lucerne as well as Research Fellow at the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein. Prior he was Visiting Fellow at Yale University.

    Manfred Nowak is Professor of International Human Rights Law at the University of Vienna and Secretary General of the Global Campus of Human Rights, a network of some 100 universities in all world regions, based in Venice.

    George Ulrich is Academic Director of the Global Campus of Human Rights (Venice, Italy) and Professor of Human Rights at the Riga Graduate School of Law. Research interests relate to the philosophy of human rights, global justice, and human rights and development cooperation.