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)

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