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] 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)


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 and 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!

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

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

AMS Study Group Election

The AMS Music and Disability Study Group is pleased to introduce the following slate of candidates for election:

Candidates for Chair

Please note: Jeannette D. Jones and Stefan Sunandan Honisch have agreed to run together and serve jointly as co-chairs.

Jeannette D. Jones is graduating this spring from Boston University with her PhD in historical musicology. Her primary research is in music, poetry, and networks in late fifteenth-century France, but she is also active in music and disability studies. She published an essay on music and Deaf culture in the Oxford Handbook of Music and Disability Studies. Jeannette regularly teaches courses on music and disability studies, both at the undergraduate and graduate level, at College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, MA) and Brandeis University (Waltham, MA). Jeannette has been involved with the study group since 2011 and served as a chair of the ad hoc Committee on Accessibility, which served to rewrite the AMS standards of Accessibility. She works as advocate for Accessibility within the AMS, serving on a panel for gender and accessibility at the 2018 national AMS meeting. Jeannette maintains connections with her local Deaf community and with the Deaf musician community.

Stefan Sunandan Honisch is an Associate Fellow at the University of Victoria’s Centre for Studies in Religion and Society. He holds a PhD from the University of British Columbia, where he wrote a dissertation examining the critical and popular reception of pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii. Stefan provided the following the candidate statement:

I am excited by the opportunity to put my name forward for the Chair of the AMS Music and Disability Study Group. I bring perspectives shaped by my lived experiences as a disabled musician, researcher, and educator, connecting scholarship to its application in the classroom, teaching studio, and concert hall. Through my multi-faceted engagement with music, education, and disability spanning more than a decade, I have come to recognize that inclusion and access are open-ended processes, neither recipes, nor checklists, but instead, participatory and dialogical.

I look forward to bringing this combination of lived experience and engaged scholarship to addressing cross-disability accessibility in the work of our Study Group, and in the AMS more broadly. It would be a privilege to provide leadership and collaborate with colleagues to submit annual and semiannual reports, facilitate the annual meeting, organize scholarly initiatives, including the evening session at the annual AMS meetings, and find new ways of advocating for inclusion and access for scholars and students with disabilities.

My public scholarship contributions include blog posts for the AMS Music and Disability Study Group, for W.W. Norton’s Avid Listener, and for Public Disability History. I am active on social media platforms that advance Disability Studies pedagogy and scholarship, serving as co-moderator of the Teaching Disability Studies Facebook Group. In addition, I am a member of the Editorial Board of Public Disability History, and a member of the Journal of Teaching Disability Studies Review Board. Connecting scholarship to teaching is central to my work, as demonstrated in the graduate seminar I developed at Uppsala University, and the guest lectures I deliver for undergraduate and graduate seminars, and for survey-style courses.

As Chair of the Study Group, I would include explore possible synergies between the Public Philosophy Journal, for which I serve as a Field Editor on Disability Issues. Building on the Study Group’s previous work, I am interested in supporting capacity-building around the ongoing expansion of the Pedagogy page, drawing on Universal Design for Learning frameworks to promote accessible and inclusive documents for course syllabi, and at conferences. Going further, I would take an active role in providing expanded options for virtual participation in meetings and conferences, to ensure that our colleagues who manage chronic illness, disability, and complex health needs can participate fully in meetings, conferences, and can take up opportunities to serve in AMS in various roles. I would look forward to working with the Editor on developing topical blog series including disability in the academic job market, and technology in the classroom.

I would work with fellow Study Group officers including the Webmaster and Editor to ensure that multimedia posts on the Study group website, as well as links to external content are provided with textual descriptions, are compatible with screen readers, and that the website works towards becoming more neurodiversity inclusive. Toward that end, I would reach out to Study Group members via email to explore internal capacity for launching a supplementary resources page specifically for improving web content accessibility.

I have been actively involved with the Study Group since its inception, and I welcome the chance to build on its exciting and path-breaking interdisciplinary scholarship and pedagogy in serving as Chair.

Candidate for Secretary

Elizabeth McLain is a doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan, where she is writing her dissertation on Olivier Messiaen’s intellectual world and aesthetic agenda in the 1930s under the guidance of Jane F. Fulcher. Her most recent publication, “Messiaen’s L’Ascension: Musical Illumination of Spiritual Texts after the Model of Tournemire’s L’Orgue Mystique,” appears in Mystic Modern: The Music, Thought, and Legacy of Charles Tournemire, the most complete volume of Tournemire scholarship to date. McLain has presented conference papers on the subject of Messiaen’s early period, most notably “Dreams of the Soul: Olivier Messiaen’s Nonconformist Catholic Surrealism in Chants de terre et de ciel (1939)” at the Royal Music Association’s Crosscurrents of Music & Theology conference in 2013 and “Resurrection as Transcendence: Nonconformist Ideology in Olivier Messiaen’s Les Corps glorieux (1939)” at the Visions of the Beyond conference at the Southbank Centre in London in 2014.

Candidate for Blog Editor

James Deaville (School for Studies in Art & Culture: Music, Carleton University) is a Musicologist specializing in music, composers and musical practices and institutions of the 19th and 20th centuries, having published and spoken about such diverse topics as Franz Liszt, music criticism, television news music, African-American entertainers in turn-of-the-century Vienna and “fascist” Nordic composers during the Third Reich. He has published in the Journal of the American Musicological Society, Journal of the Society for American Music, 19th Century Music Review, Echo, Current Musicology, Hamburger Jahrbuch für Musikwissenschaft and Canadian University Music Review (among others).

Please cast your votes by March 29!