The BFE Student Prize for 2017 recognises an outstanding paper presented by a student at this year’s BFE Annual Conference, hosted by the University of Sheffield (20-23 April 2017). We are delighted to award the prize to Hamidreza Salehyar of University of Toronto, and to give honourable mention to Lyndsey Hoh of Oxford University: their papers are described below. We would also like to thank everyone who submitted a paper this year, and encourage students to submit papers for next year’s conference at the University of Newcastle in 2018. Please see our BFE Student Prize Awards page for more information.
Beyond Resistance and Subordination: The Paradox of Popular Music in Shi’ite Rituals in Post-Revolutionary Iran - Hamidreza Salehyar
This well-written and convincingly-argued analysis of Shi’a Muharram mourning rituals examines the controversial spaces where popular music influences religious life. Using clear language to convey complex ideas, the author articulates a dialectical, rather than binary approach to religion, politic ideologies and popular culture. It is a valuable contribution to the discipline as a troubling of scholarly hierarchies of the religious and the popular, and will be a useful resource to anyone studying contemporary Islam.
Brass Instruments in Benin and Experiences of the Historical - Lyndsey Hoh
This sophisticated and compelling paper examines the multiple cultural meanings of brass instruments in post-colonial Africa. Based on a phenomenological approach and extensive ethnographic evidence from interviews, the author makes the case that these instruments hold unique value in Benin. Arguing that brass instruments constitute “entangled objects” (Thomas 1991) and “imperial degree” (Stoler 2013), the paper is an innovative and original contribution to organology.