Iden­ti­ty in Mu­sic Theo­ry and His­to­ry

New Orleans, 09.-10.11.2022

Deadline: 15.03.2022

The AMS Study Group and SMT Interest Group for the History of Music Theory invite proposals for a pre-conference (Nov. 9-10, 2022) to the upcoming meeting in New Orleans.

Identity in Music Theory and History

Building on recent interrogations of the ways in which race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, dis/ability, and class have shaped disciplinary agendas; on histories that extend or decenter Europe and the global North; and on historicizations of music theory’s fundamental concepts, this conference will address the role(s) identity does, might, or ought to play in histories of music theory.

We invite proposals for 20-minute papers that engage with music theory and identity from a wide range of perspectives, including but not limited to:

  • What does it mean to be a music theorist (in the present, past, and/or future)? Who gets—or wants—to be one, and why?
  • What kinds of identities does (historically oriented) research in music (theory) address? In what ways does musical thought help individuals, communities, institutions, and/or cultures negotiate questions of identity?
  • How does (the history of) music theory look from the perspective of disciplines with rich histories of reflection on identity and community, e.g., ethnomusicology, anthropology, philosophy, sociology?
  • How does identity shape the ways in which music theories are read or used? How do identities and concepts interact to shape musical values and support or resist existing power structures? How might we understand the patterns of exclusion that these processes involve?
  • How might cultural and ethnographic approaches to the study of music theory reshape the nature of music-theoretical claims?
  • In what ways might a focus on identity broaden the horizons of music theory? Conversely, what are the limits of identity in, and how might issues of identity limit, music theorizing?
  • What is the place of biography in the history of theory?
  • How have links between language and identity shaped music theory, and how do acts of translation reshape it?
  • How has identity functioned as a historiographic category in histories of music theory? In what ways has identity been elided from histories of music theory, and to what end(s)?
  • What do histories of music theory become if musical concepts (e.g., harmony, rhythm, proportion, timbre, and form) are understood not as foundations of the discipline but rather as media that shape, resonate, and interact with the identities of those for whom such concepts matter?

Please submit abstracts (350 words) to by March 15, 2022, with the heading “Identity NOLA”.