The Institute of Musicology

Dissertationsprojekt von Sara Rohr

MA Sara Valentina Rohr


phil.-hist. Fakultät

Postal Address
Mittelstrasse 43
CH-3012 Bern
Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday
Mini CV
Mini CV
seit 2023
Doktorantin im eingeworbenen "Performing an Inuit Enviromentalism"
2022-2023 WIssenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin, Abteilung Mittelalter, Historisches Institut, Universität Bern, Schweiz
2019-2022 Tutorin & Hilfsassistentin, Abteilung Mittelalter, Historisches Institut, Universität Bern, Schweiz
2018-2021 Master of Arts in History mit Prädikat Insigni cum laude, Major Geschichte & Minor World Arts & Music, Universität Bern, Schweiz
2018-2020 Mastervertretung im Direktorium, Historisches Institut, Universität Bern, Schweiz
2015-2020 Vizepräsidentin des Fachschaftsvorstandes Geschichte, Universität Bern, Schweiz
2016-2018 Studentische Aushilfe im Stadtarchiv Aarau
2013-2018 Bachelor of Arts in History mit Prädikat Insigni cum laude Mono Geschichte, Universität Bern, Schweiz
SEMP-Semester, Universiteit Utrecht, Niederlande
2016 Praktikum in der Forschungsstelle für Diplomatische Dokumente der Schweiz (DDS)
2013-2014 Mitarbeit am Uniradio "Ostinato", Universität Bern, Schweiz
2009-2013 Eidgenössische Matura, Alt Kantonsschule Aarau
  • Climate Change Adaptation
  • Sustainability
  • Resilience
  • Inuit Throat Singing
  • Inuit Digital Storytelling
  • Traditional Ecological Knowledge
  • Indigeneity
  • Decolonialization
  • Interdisciplinarity

Performing Inuit Sovereignty through Katajjaq/Katajjaniq

In 2014, Québec declared Katajjaniq, an Inuit throat singing game, its first intangible cultural heritage element. This resulted in the revitalization of the practice in Nunavik and Canada’s other arctic regions, Nunavut and Nunatsiavut, where the game is called Katajjaq. While the traditional song repertoire and techniques seem to remain unchanged, the performance context, the significance it holds in everyday life, and its purpose as “just a game” seem to alter. Contemporary female Inuit throat singers increasingly perform Katajjaniq/Katajjaq as an artistic practice in concerts or festivals, on social media, and as part of or accompanying museum exhibitions. Furthermore, they collaborate with Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists and musicians to include Katajjaniq/Katajjaq or mix its sonic and technical elements with art and popular music. By doing so, they raise awareness for Inuit culture, knowledge, ontologies, and epistemologies, which center on the interrelationship with the Arctic environment. At the same time, Inuit throat singers address the still-lasting impacts of colonialism in their music, performance, and social media while presenting Inuit perspectives and narratives. Through their grassroots activism, contemporary female Inuit throat singers are contributing to identity-making and decolonizing efforts on a local, national, and international level. The dissertation aims to explore how and to what extent these recontextualized forms of Katajjaniq/Katajjaq and its inclusion in or mixing with art and popular music demonstrate Inuit sovereignty and an Inuit narrative while challenging Western/European and settler-colonial sonic, cultural, and gendered imaginations of Inuit and the Arctic. Furthermore, the question of how non-Inuit composers, musicians, and artists engage with Katajjaniq/Katajjaq and Inuit throat singers will be examined to understand if and how these collaborations are serving as an encountering space to promote Inuit sovereignty and agency. In that context, further focus will be put on historical and ethnographic encounters of non-Inuit with Katajjaniq/Katajjaq to understand different listening positionalities and sonic imaginations remaining until today. The examination and contextualization of Jean Gabus’s recordings of Inuit Songs in Arviat (Hudson Bay) from 1938-1939, which are now part of the permanent collection of the Musée d’ethnographie de Neuchâtel in Switzerland, will serve as a main case study. Key data will be collected through on-site and virtual fieldwork consisting of results gathered from interviews, participation observation, and analyses of the artistic output and presented as case studies. To achieve this, the dissertation proposes an interdisciplinary approach that combines concepts and methods from ethnomusicology, gender studies, Indigenous scholarship, as well as oral and environmental history. Implementing an applied ethnomusicology approach, the data, the results, and accounts of the collaborative research process will be publicly accessible on a shared website. It is further central to the project to implement collaborative research with Inuit throat singers and Inuit cultural organizations, to prioritize Indigenous research concepts and methods, and to embed the findings in a context of self-reflexivity and situated perspectives to acknowledge and critically reflect my own positionality as a female, Swiss and non-Inuit researcher.

  • Podcastfolge zum Thema “Innereuropäische Kreuzzüge“ für den Podcast Mediä…WAT?! der Ruhr
  • Öffentlicher Vortrag über den Hungerstein im Stadtmuseum Brugg
  • Artikel: Matilde Lejeune-Jehle (1885-1967) – Die Kriegsjahre 1914/1915 im Spiegel ihrer Korrespondenz, in: Jahresschrift der Vereinigung für Heimatkunde Suhrental VHS (2014), S. 12-24.