CfP: Sonic Circulations 1900-1950

Call For Papers: Deadline 15 January 2019

Sonic Circulations 1900-1950: Musical Thought, Scientific Fantasies, Global Contexts

24-25 June 2019

Senate House, University of London, in association with the Institute of Musical Research

Confirmed keynote speakers:  James Q. Davies (University of California, Berkeley), Gascia Ouzounian (University of Oxford). Conference respondents: Gundula Kreuzer (Yale University), John Tresch (The Warburg Institute, The School of Advanced Study, London).

From the first human flight in 1903, to the aftermath of the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, science and technology in the first half of the twentieth century veered between the utopian and the malevolent. Conceived as idea, as material, and as praxis, science and technology prompt questions about mediation, ethics, marginalisation, space, and power. The time is ripe to interrogate the place of sound and music within the social worlds, political structures, and discourses of the early twentieth century, a period shaped by global uncertainty, military conflict, human displacement, and the legacies of scientised colonialism.

This conference, the second meeting of the ‘Sonic Circulations’ research network, will explore the intersections of scientific, technological, and musical discourses in the global contexts of the first half of the twentieth century. We invite a wide range of papers positioned at the nexus of (ethno)musicology, cultural studies, STS, history of science, and sound studies. Responding to intensifying scholarly preoccupation with science, technology, and music in the Enlightenment and nineteenth century, this conference seeks to cast our attentions forward in time, bringing together scholars from diverse fields and academic contexts. In particular, submissions are encouraged to foreground social dynamics, to bring questions of power or historical erasure to bear where science, technology, and music meet, to interrogate hegemonies, or to expand the range of critical/theoretical perspectives and voices that might be mobilised in this field, particularly beyond those from overrepresented geographical centres.

Proposals for individual papers (20 minutes + questions) or panels (90 minutes) are warmly invited. Abstracts may address, but need not be limited to:

– Modernity and temporality: futures and pasts

– Performing, staging, screening, and writing science, technology, music, and modernity

– Materials (including technologies of music: acoustics, recording, radio, scores etc)

– Abstractions, ideologies, metaphors (e.g. reciprocity between ideas in techno-scientific and musical thought and practice)

– People/agents, for instance relationships between scientists, technologists, musical thinkers, performers and others

– Power, coloniality (including labour, race, class, gender)

– Transnational perspectives, conflict and war

– Ethics and philosophy

– (Inter)-discipline and methodology

Abstracts of no more than 350 words should be sent to by 15 January 2018. Please include title, name, institutional affiliation (if applicable), and a short biography (50-80 words). Applicants will be notified of the outcome by mid-February.

There will be a registration fee for the conference, covering refreshments and lunches.

Programme Committee: Emily I. Dolan (Harvard University), Arman Schwartz (King’s College, London), Emily MacGregor (Harvard University/Royal Holloway, University of London).

For further queries please contact Dr Emily MacGregor: