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Speaker Series-Kathleen Kuo: Mongolia’s Musical Memories and Moving Mementos: Audiovisual Archival Recordings as Cultural Heritage

October 3, 2017 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

While audiovisual archives in Mongolia are often frequented by scholars looking to supplement their research, there are no English language ethnographic publications on the relationships between these archives and discourses of memory and heritage, much less on the work happening within these archives themselves. When we think of intangible cultural heritage in Mongolia, we tend to think of genres as separate from those individuals or materials who are responsible for sustaining them over time (long song, camel coaxing rituals, horsehead fiddle, etc.). But what about forms of cultural heritage and historical moments captured within the physical medium of a tape or record? Should we also treat these recordings as cultural heritage, or are they something else entirely? How is audiovisual cultural heritage in Mongolia collected, preserved, and shared with others, especially within the institutional setting of the archive?

In this talk, Kathleen will present an overview of her project from the last six months studying archival and engineering efforts to collect, preserve, and share Mongolian audiovisual recordings. She will draw upon ethnographic case studies from her research and experience working in archives as well as from historical examples. Her talk will also include a discussion of the logistical and theoretical challenges to working with and framing audiovisual recordings as cultural heritage. In addition to contributing to public outreach for these resources and ongoing projects at these institutions, her hope is to draw more attention to the importance of preserving these materials and the significance of these experts’ work.

Co-Sponsored by the American Cultural and Information Center, Ulaanbaatar


October 3, 2017
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
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