CFP: “Enfoldings and Divisions:” Musical Modulations and Debility

The Study Group on Music and Disability for the American Musicological Society along with the Society for Music Theory‘s Special Interest Groups in Music and Disability, Scholars for Social Responsibility, and Global Interculturalisms and Musical Peripheries invite proposals for a special session at the AMS/SMT annual meeting, Minneapolis, Minnesota (Nov. 5–8, 2020).

Session Title: “Enfoldings and Divisions:”
Musical Modulations and Debility 
Proposal submission deadline is March 12.

Image description: Full color book cover. Author Jasbir K. Puar. Title is The Right to Maim in red capital letters. A smaller subtitle in grey letters reads debility, capacity, disability. The main image is an abstract design with a human image screaming out of a gray scale geometric object with a spatter of red blood.
Image description: Full color book cover. Author Jasbir K. Puar. Title is The Right to Maim in red capital letters. A smaller subtitle in grey letters reads debility, capacity, disability. The main image is an abstract design with a human image screaming out of a gray scale geometric object with a spatter of red blood.

Call Description:
What role do music and disability play in the histories, geographies, and politics of imperialism? How does music’s troubled relationship to bodies, senses, and minds, legitimize the disaster capitalism that perpetuates disastrous inequalities buttressed by white supremacy, white privilege, and, more recently, a pernicious liberal rhetoric that neatly sidesteps the work of dismantling these inequalities through empty forms of “inclusionism?” Disability theorist Jasbir Puar argues that neoliberalism presses disability into the service of upholding and reinforcing white supremacy and privilege, through maintaining liberal racism and nationalist projects. In her recent book, The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability (2017), Puar observes that a focus on disability culture grounded in rights-based discourses and positive assertions of collective identity cannot be considered without taking into account the imperialist and colonialist legacies that perpetuate global, structural, and material inequalities. Examination of disability cultures and disability pride must take place in the context of liberal empowerment discourses, confronting difficult questions about who is able to participate, and who is excluded. To echo her phrasing, disability culture is “enfolded” into the liberal project of colonization. As a result, Disability Studies has left mostly unexamined the ways in which debility, in contrast to disability, targets bodies for injury and maiming along geopolitical and socioeconomic lines. The global South, ravaged by the imperialist and settler colonial projects of the global North, is a world of bodies debilitated by the latter’s relentless, ruthless, and unfettered pursuit of wealth and power.

Engaging with Puar’s “political” model of disability, this joint meeting of the AMS Study Group on Music and Disability and co-sponsoring SMT Interest Groups interrogates how the “social model” of disability reinforces Euro-American perspectives of musical culture. We welcome topics that include, but are not limited to, disability representation in music, disability/music performance, social and political identities, discourses of ability and debility in music, intersectionality, cultural supremacy, and globalization. We encourage presentations to move within and around the framework of the “political model” outlined above. In order to facilitate in-depth engagement and discussion, we ask that contributions be circulated among presenters two weeks before the session. 

We invite all interested parties to submit proposals of no more than 250 words by March 12th, 2020, to be received by the group chairs at the following email address: jdjones[at]holycross.edu. Please include your name, contact information, and any accessibility needs you may have.

To maximize accessibility for presenters and audience members, this session will embrace multiple formats: 

  • short papers (10 minutes)
  • performances
  • video presentations
  • Other media (TBD).

Virtual participation via video conferencing software will be available. Should you wish to participate remotely, we ask that you contact the AMS Study Group co-chairs, and the SMT Interest Group chair  approximately 3 weeks before the actual meeting.

(Link to view-only Google doc also containing the call)

Disability and Deaf Studies & Sound Studies SIGs Joint Panel at SEM: CFP

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS (deadline for abstracts is February 5, 2020)

Description:

The Society for Ethnomusicology Disability and Deaf Studies Special Interest Group and the Sound Studies Special Interest Group invite members to submit abstracts to be selected for a panel proposal for the SEM 65th Annual Meeting on October 22-25, 2020 in Ottawa, Canada. This year, our two Special Interest Groups will be collaborating to sponsor a panel on topics that combine, intersect, and resonate between these two areas of study. We welcome scholars who conduct research in these areas as well as those who identify as belonging to either Deaf or disabled communities to share their insights and experiences.

We seek papers that engage with topics of Sound Studies and Disability and Deaf Studies including, but not limited to, the following:

·  The intersections of Sound Studies with Disability and Deaf Studies

·  Methodological resonances between the study of sound and the study of disability and D/deafness

·  Sonic representations of invisible disabilities, chronic illness, and mental health

·  The place of sound in histories of disability

·  Performance of disability and Deaf identities in popular culture including film, television, theater, and the media

·  Disability as metaphor in discussions of sound and aurality

·  Politics and political histories of disability and sound

·  Links among pathology, disability, and sound, including within discussions of eugenics treatments.

We are soliciting proposals for twenty-minute presentations from scholars active in all music disciplines as well as from scholars in related fields, aiming to maximize the theoretical and methodological breadth of the discussion.

Submission Guidelines:

Please submit abstracts of 200 to 250 words to both DDStudiesSEM@gmail.com and davindarsingh@g.harvard.edu by February 5, 2020. Please include your name and contact information in your e-mail only, and attach the abstract as a Word or PDF file, since the committee will be selecting papers anonymously. Applicants will be notified of the committee’s decision by end of day on February 10, 2020.

AMS Study Group Election

The AMS Music and Disability Study Group is pleased to introduce Benjamin Coghan as its candidate for Webmaster.

Benjamin Coghan is a PhD student in Historical Musicology at the University of Texas, Austin from Waldorf, MD. He completed a Bachelor of Music Education in Choral Studies and a Bachelor of Music in Music History at The Ohio State University before beginning graduate studies in musicology at Louisiana State University, and transferring to UT-Austin. His research interests include disability studies and music performance/reception, American popular music during the nineteenth century, and has tertiary interests in the music of Fluxus and American opera & art song. While at UT, he has served as both the Colloquium Representative and Co-President of the Association of Graduate Ethno/Musicology Students (AGEMS).

Benjamin has been a member of AMS, AMS-Midwest, AMS-South, AMS-Southwest, and the Society for American Music (SAM). He has presented papers at the annual meeting of SAM (2017), the Music & the Moving Image Conference (2019), and has participated in several regional graduate conferences. As a member of the Austin community he performs with the Capital City Men’s Chorus, enjoys Austin’s paths and parks with his dog Joplin, works with fused glass at the Helios Fused Glass studio, and has a large collection of cactuses and succulents.

Please cast your ballot by Thursday, November 14!

A Note From Cambridge Common Voices

 

Logo for Cambridge Common Voices. A blue C, a red C, and a white V interlocking.

Dr. Andrew Clark just relayed the AMS Study Group a message on behalf of Cambridge Common Voices:

We of the Cambridge Common Voices owe such a debt of gratitude to you and your colleagues for the opportunity perform in your Music & Disability Study Group panel last Thursday at the AMS meeting in Boston. At our rehearsal on Sunday, we took time to reflect on the experience – our singers had a blast. It also drove home an important and painful reminder for me that many of our musicians really have very few occasions to perform for others, much less for such an esteemed group like AMS. 

This experience, made possible by you and your colleagues, ultimately gave our singers an empowered opportunity to share their music and their spirits in meaningful way. It had to be about them. And bearing witness to their authentic joy and sense of abandon made it all worthwhile. I think, maybe, we all often approach these conference spaces with a desire to impress, when what we actually need — at the spiritual level —  is to be inspired.

The work of your study group extends beyond the important endeavor of generating knowledge, critique, and insight — I’m drawn to it because it’s rooted in justice, in raising our consciousness, and in stirring our soul. To make music for all of you, whose work I deeply admire, felt like the best way to give back and to say thank you. I hope we can continue to keep track of each other and that our paths cross soon.

SMT DisMus and Music Cognition Interest Group Joint Meeting, November 9

The SMT Music Cognition Group and the SMT Interest Group
on Music and Disability will co-host a session of lightening talks at the
Society for Music Theory’s 42nd Annual Meeting in Columbus, Ohio. The
meeting will take place from 12:30pm-2pm on Saturday, November 9 in
Nationwide A. Please join us!

The theme of our joint session will be “Intersections of Music, Disability,
and Cognition.” The lightening talks include:

-Leigh VanHandel, “Working Memory Burdens and Music Theory Pedagogy”

-Michael Vitalino, “Aural Skills Pedagogy for Deaf and Hard of Hearing
(DHH) Students”

-Justin London, “Music Instruments as Cognitive Extensions, Domain
Specificity in Motor Tasks, and the Implications for the Music Theory
Classroom” OR “Why is it that Very Good Musicians suck at Aural Skills?”

-Mark Saccomano, “Dangerous Music: Analysis, Criticism, and the Aesthetic
Object”

-Evan Jones, “Metric Disability in David Lang’s Stuttered Chang (2011)”

AMS Boston Business Meeting

Attached please find the draft agenda for our business meeting, which will be held on November 1 from 12:30-2:00 in Harbor III. Please note that our business meeting will feature a research presentation by Andrew Dell’Antonio, “UDL as a Resource for Decolonizing the Music History Syllabus.”
The details for our Thursday evening panel are posted on our website: https://musicdisabilitystudies.wordpress.com/2019/10/17/ams-boston-2019/. Additionally, the conference will feature several disability-themed papers, including:

Friday Morning, 10:45-12:15 Disabilities (Harbor II)
Jessica Holmes (University of California, Los Angeles), Chair
Barbara Eichner (Oxford Brookes University), “Infirm Singers and Dyslexic Nuns: Negotiating Disability in Late-Medieval and Early-Modern Monastic Institutions”
James Deaville (Carleton University), “Hearing the American Nightmare: Disability, Race, and Jazz in It’s a Wonderful Life”
 
Saturday Afternoon, 2:15 Educators and Students, 1680–1860 (Commonwealth C)
Mary Natvig (Bowling Green State University), Chair
Michael Accinno (Duke University), “Music, Literacy, and the Transatlantic Circulation of Braille”

We look forward to seeing many of you in Boston!

AMS Boston 2019

Dear AMS Colleagues,

I am writing to invite you to join us at the annual meeting in Boston for the Music & Disability Study Group’s Evening Panel Session, entitled “Musicology and Universal Design: Claiming the Consonant, the Dissonant, and the Resonant,” on Thursday October 31 from 8:00-10:00 p.m. in Grand Ballroom A. I am thrilled to report that the panel not only features live musical performance, but that live American Sign Language interpretation will be provided for the duration of the panel and question & answer period, courtesy of Harvard University!

The panel will begin with an interactive performance by the Cambridge Common Voices, under the creative leadership of conductor Andrew Clarke. The ensemble is a community chorus and creative partnership between Harvard College and the Threshold Program at Lesley University, a transition program for young adults with diverse learning challenges. Rooting its work in Universal Design for Learning (UDL), Cambridge Common Voices reimagines concepts of choral music through the lens of disability, creating new pathways that challenge established norms of musical value, expertise, taste, and social hierarchies by affirming the creative agency of each singer, and democratizing the creative process.

The second half of the panel will feature three paper presentations. Abby Anderton (CUNY, Baruch College) will discuss how the principles of UD can be used in tandem with those of Open Educational Resources (OER) to create a more inclusive, equitable music history curriculum.  Floris Schuiling (Utrecht University) and Pedro Garcia López de la Osa (UC Riverside) separately investigate the design and use of music notation for visually impaired musicians in the Netherlands and Spain, respectively. Both presentations reveal the extent to which standardization of blind musical notation has been fueled by nationalism at the expense of accessibility.

Note that the panel will be livestreamed on YouTube (link TBA). Official live tweets can also be followed using our Study Group Twitter handle: @amssmtdismus. For your convenience, the complete panel abstract is copied below. We look forward to seeing many of you at what promises to be a dynamic and enriching event!

On behalf of the Music & Disability Study Group, I wish to thank you for your ongoing support.

All my best,

Jessica Holmes
Study Group Chair

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Evening Panel Abstract

The concept of “Universal Design” (UD), coined by architect Ron Mace in 1996, figures prominently in current public discourse on disability as designers, architects, urban planners, and engineers aspire to create more inclusive spaces and objects that better accommodate the needs of all bodies. UD avoids stigmatizing and segregating bodies by striving for equity and flexibility of use, integrating accessibility into all stages of the design process, obviating the need for retrofits. Familiar examples include curb cuts, tactile paving, wheelchair ramps, and beeping crosswalk lights which render the built environment more accessible to those with physical and sensory disabilities, while Braille and closed-captioning facilitate greater access to visual and aural media. In higher education, the goals of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) “stand in direct contrast to the often nostalgic (and ultimately hierarchical) expression of normativity we see in the repeated calls to re-embrace physical books, pens, and paper,” writes disability scholar and advocate Rick Godden.

UD has its drawbacks, however. As designer-scholar Graham Pullin argues, the types of multimodal interfaces, spaces, and multifunctional platforms sometimes designed to “accommodate as broad a range of uses as possible” risk further excluding by virtue of their complexity. “Different people ultimately have different needs and desires irrespective of their abilities,” writes Pullin (2015). Others lament that UD often masquerades as a totalizing embrace of human diversity, overshadowing the ways accessibility is also race- and class-bound, and constructed along gendered lines as much as it is contingent upon ability. Godden contends, furthermore, that ultimately, “eccentric and extraordinary bodies have the potential to puncture the illusion of the universal that UD champions, disorienting and, more importantly, reorienting how we conceive of access and equality” (2016).

Like the built-environment, Western music encodes what Blake Howe has described as a “corporeal finitude” through everything from scores to instrument design in ways that “enable some bodies, while disabling others.” Our session probes the consonances, dissonances, and resonances of UD as it is mobilized aurally, visually, and through the multiple ways we feel and make sense of music.

Andrew Clark (Harvard) will lead an interactive performance and discussion by the Cambridge Common Voices, a newly launched neurodiverse vocal ensemble established through a partnership between the students of Harvard University’s “Music and Disability” course, and students from the Threshold College Inclusion Program for diverse learners at Lesley University. Rooting its work in UDL, Cambridge Common Voices reimagines concepts of choral music through the lens of disability, creating new pathways that challenge established norms of musical value, expertise, taste, and social hierarchies by affirming the creative agency of each singer, and democratizing the creative process.

Abby Anderton (CUNY, Baruch College) will discuss how the principles of UD can be used in tandem with those of Open Educational Resources (OER) to create a more inclusive, equitable music history curriculum. OER courses rely solely on materials provided at no cost to the student, thereby removing economic barriers to student learning, like expensive textbooks or costly online platforms. Floris Schuiling (Utrecht University) and Pedro Garcia López de la Osa (UC Riverside) separately investigate the design and use of music notation for visually impaired musicians in the Netherlands and Spain, respectively. Schuiling investigates the recent decline in Braille music literacy in the Netherlands as it corresponds to changes in educational policy, a decrease in library resources, and the rise of audio devices. Since the 1990s, Dutch libraries for the blind have been producing “spoken scores,” which have found some degree of popularity, especially amongst late-blind musicians, but have encountered other obstacles toward more widespread adaptation. Similarly, López de la Osa compares Gabriel Abreu’s 19th Century musicographic system for the blind as an alternative to Braille notation. In an effort to bring Spain into conformity with other countries, the Spanish National Organization of the Blind initiated a campaign to revert to Braille notation during the 1950s; yet Spanish blind musicians regard Abreu’s system as more accurate, precise, and convenient, both then and now. Both presentations reveal the extent to which standardization of blind musical notation has been fueled by nationalism at the expense of accessibility.