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date: 19 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter offers an ethnomusicological consideration of how musics and the human bodies that create and experience them are connected in ways that reflect, embody, and inform one another. Theoretically, it merges key premises of disability studies with Martin Stokes’s call for a paradigm shift to “post-theoreticism” in his own field of ethnomusicology—one that, first, militates against “our historical compulsion to define others in terms of what they lack,” pushing in this instance toward the recognition and privileging of the voices of disabled people themselves, and that, second, foregrounds the words and ideas of ostensibly disabled individuals as theory rather than as ancillary to theory. Two case studies form the main body of the chapter. The first focuses on the music listening practices and insights of a nonspeaking autistic woman, the second on the difficult path to dancing competence navigated by a professional drummer with a self-described “dance disability.”

Keywords: autism, disability, disability studies, post-theoreticism, ethnomusicology, music and disability, dance, listening, epistemology

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