It’s that time of the semester. Students are working on their research papers. The process was prepared by the submission, several weeks ahead of when the papers are due, of individual Abstracts, or paper proposals.
As I provided feedback to students about their abstracts, helping them in fine-tuning their sources, and choice of topics, I also tried to summarize their research topics under general headings.
This year, the focus has been on the relationship between music and ritual (by circa 50% of the students), and on the related topics of folk (mostly, paraliturgical) music, of piyyut (or the study of liturgical poetry), and of Jewish mysticism. A small but substantial group of students is instead focusing on the ever-slippery and ever-fascinating topic of “Jewish identity.”
As always, I created a simple pie chart with my summary:
As a note: if I divided the proposals by discipline, or area study, we would have a clear majority of students working on ethnography and ethnomusicology, followed by papers in anthropology, cultural history, and literature.