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!


Disability and Deaf Studies Events at SEM 2016

Posted on behalf of Elyse Marrero, Chair of the SEM Disability and Deaf Studies Special Interest Group (website:

The SEM Disability and Deaf Studies Special Interest Group is pleased to announce the following events at the annual meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology in Washington, D.C. (November 10–13):

The second annual meeting of the SEM Disability and Deaf Studies Special Interest Group will take place on Thursday November 10 from 12:30-1:30PM in the Governor’s Boardroom. If you are interested, last year’s minutes are posted in the archive section of our website at: We will hold elections and discuss our plans towards an SEM position statement on access.

Our first (!) sponsored roundtable, “Accessible Music Pedagogy and Scholarship: Accommodations for Bodily Difference and Disability,” will also be held on Thursday November 10. This event will take place in the Palladium Ballroom from 4-5:30PM and will be streamed online through SEM. Depending on the WiFi access, I plan on streaming our meeting and roundtable on periscope through my twitter account, @starwarselyse. We also plan on streaming through Facebook Live on our Facebook page,

Chair: Michelle D. Jones, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Ailsa Lipscombe, University of Chicago
Felicia Youngblood, Florida State University
John Murphy, University of North Texas
Meghan Schrader, University of New Hampshire
Joan Titus, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

This roundtable explores opportunities for growth in accommodating diversely-abled students and faculty in music programs within higher education settings. Adaptive technology, college readiness programs, and increasing recognition of a wide variety of disabilities–both visible and invisible–have enabled people with a variety of abilities and bodily differences to participate in academia as students, faculty, and independent scholars. While greater inclusion has benefitted our field by introducing a more diverse choir of scholarly voices, it has also revealed the need to critically examine how we present content and communicate scholarly ideas. This roundtable provides practical strategies to ensure the success of differently-abled scholars and students through the insights of five scholars who have direct experience with disability. They will explore the ways in which their participation in higher education has been impacted by disability, as well as how they have adapted their teaching and learning styles to accommodate their students and/or selves. The panel will begin with brief presentations on: 1) being a blind or low-vision student in oculocentric classrooms; 2) having a nonverbal learning disability while attending graduate school in musicology; 3) showing empathy and developing adaptive teaching techniques for students who have disabilities; 4) navigating school and academia with an invisible disability; and 5) accommodating students who have autism and related neurodevelopmental differences. Together these perspectives expand the discourse surrounding inclusion and acceptance in institutions of higher learning.

If you have any questions or would like to sign up for the SIG newsletter, email us at

Agenda and Program for Music and Disability Events at AMS/SMT 2016

Greetings! The annual AMS/SMT conference is nearly upon us, and it promises to be a stimulating and exciting event. Please find attached the program for the evening session, “Cripping the Music Theory/Music History Curriculum” (on Thursday, 3 November, from 8–11pm), and the agenda for the business meeting (on Saturday, 5 November, from 12:15–1:45pm).

Safe travels to everyone attending the conference, and we will see you in Vancouver!

2016 Program and Business Meeting Agenda

Music and Disability Events at AMS/SMT in Vancouver

The AMS Music and Disability Study Group (MDSG) and the SMT Interest Group on Music and Disability (SMT IG) are pleased to announce the following papers and meetings at the joint annual meeting of the American Musicological Society and Society for Music Theory in Vancouver (3–6 November):

1. The MDSG and SMT IG are co-sponsoring a special session on music pedagogy and disability, “Cripping the Music Theory/Music History Curriculum,” to be held during the Thursday evening session from 8–10 PM in Grand Ballroom A.

The session will feature presentations on integrating music and disability as a common perspective within the standard core curriculum in music history and music theory. Following the presentation, and in response to each paper, six scholars of music and disability studies will conduct a roundtable discussion on music, disability, and pedagogy.

Program committee and organizers:

Samantha Bassler (New York University and Westminster Choir College of Rider University), chair, AMS Study Group on Music and Disability
Bruce Quaglia (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities), chair, SMT Interest Group on Music and Disability

Roundtable of Respondents:

Michael Bakan (Florida State University), Andrew Dell’Antonio (The University of Texas at Austin), Blake Howe (Louisiana State University), Stephanie Jensen-Moulton (Brooklyn College, City University of New York), Laurie Stras (University of Southampton), Joseph Straus (The Graduate Center, City University of New York)

Participants and Mini Abstracts:

William Cheng (Dartmouth College): “Inspiration Porn: A Classroom Quandary”

Here’s what I have learned from my students: teaching disability in the music classroom poses a challenge because music is Ability Studies. In my paper, I present the obstacles and rewards in teaching cases of inspiration porn to undergraduates via overcoming narratives on reality television. I conclude with the quandaries of instilling values of cynicism versus optimism in my students: that is, a wholesale rejection of inspiration porn versus the tempered recognition that, if or when we do allow ourselves to be moved, different wisdoms may nonetheless come to us in kind.

Robin Wallace (Baylor University) and Jeannette Jones (Boston University): “The Deaf Composer: Teaching Beethoven”

Our presentation outlines a class session that begins with myths about how Beethoven experienced music, drawing on media depictions and familiar stories. We offer a more nuanced discussion of deaf musical experience based on interviews with current deaf musicians and bring this to bear in Beethoven’s music by examining some of his manuscripts and sketches that indicate Beethoven experiencing music in visual and tactile ways.

James Deaville (Carleton University): “Teaching ‘Madness’, Teaching Schumann: A Workshop

This presentation aims to open up a dialogue about how we present the lives and works of composers who experience the disability of madness, through a workshop on teaching Robert Schumann. Based on our knowledge of his life and works, we—the panelists and audience—will collectively reflect on pedagogical approaches to Schumann and his madness, which in turn can inform our teaching of other “mad” composers.

Stefan Sunandan Honisch (Vancouver, British Columbia): “Disability Aesthetics as a Pedagogical Framework: Implications for the Study of Piano Repertoire”

This lecture-recital suggests ways of applying an aesthetics of disability to the curricula of undergraduate courses in piano repertoire. I will demonstrate my approach through two case studies: Frederic Chopin’s Fantasie in F minor, and Cesar Franck’s Prelude Chorale and Fugue, two works which demand very different kinds of virtuosity from the performer, and which therefore configure the reception of the bodies of performers according to necessarily divergent aesthetic frameworks. In exploring the ways that discourses of virtuosity implicitly and explicitly write the disabled body out of large-scale piano repertoire of the nineteenth century, my lecture-recital simultaneously engages the musicological and pedagogical limits of a disability-aesthetics approach.

2. The joint business meeting of the AMS MDSG and the SMT IG on Music and Disability will be held on Saturday, 12:15–1:45 PM (Port McNeil Room).

During the meeting, a forum will be held on new scholarship in music and disability studies, to introduce new scholars and further discussion about topics of mutual interest. The workshop participants are Feilin Hsiao, University of the Pacific; Virginia Whealton, Indiana University at Bloomington; Alejandro Tellez Vargas, University of North Texas; Tekla Babyak, Cornell University.

An agenda will be posted prior to the start of the conference. Please e-mail Samantha (s.e.bassler at merton dot oxon dot org) if you have an item of business for the meeting.

3. There are a two other papers featured on the conference program that pertain to music and disability studies:

  • On Thursday afternoon, Erin K. Maher (Delaware Valley University) will present a paper entitled, “The Lens of Disability in Darius Milhaud’s Postwar U.S. Reception” (3:30–4:15 PM, Junior Ballroom D)
  • On Saturday afternoon, Michael Accinno (University of California, Davis) will present a paper entitled, “A Music Conservatory for the Blind” (2:00–2:45 PM, Pavilion Ballroom B )

Please e-mail Michael ( to publicize any other details about music and disability events at AMS/SMT.

CFP: Cripping the Music Theory/Music History Curriculum at AMS/SMT in Vancouver

CFP: Cripping the Music Theory/Music History Curriculum
Special session of the AMS and SMT groups on Music and Disability, AMS and SMT Joint Conference in Vancouver, 3–6 November 2016

The Oxford Handbook on Music and Disability Studies (2015) demonstrates how disability studies is a lens to understand music and cultural studies throughout music history, and how music and disability informs analyses of music. The book brings music and disability studies to a wider audience of music scholarship, and many contributors have entertained questions from peers who wish to bring music and disability into general music courses.

The AMS Study Group and SMT Interest Group on Music and Disability will sponsor a special session on music pedagogy and disability at the 2016 joint conference in Vancouver. We seek proposals on new ways to integrate music and disability as a common perspective within the standard core curriculum in music history and music theory, rather than relegate music and disability to special topics and seminar courses. We seek presentations from colleagues who already utilize this perspective in their routine teaching responsibilities, and we welcome submissions from younger scholars who would like to workshop their ideas for syllabi. We encourage submissions in a variety of formats, including duo presentations, short position papers, longer research papers, workshops, interviews, demonstrations, testimonials, videos, Skype presentations, surveys, and more.

Proposals should clearly describe (1) the argument you will make or the information you will convey, (2) the format you will use, and (3) the estimated duration of your presentation. Please limit proposals to 250 words. Send proposals to no later than 4 April 2016. Submissions (with identifying information removed) will be read by the organizers and chairs of the AMS and SMT music and disability study group and interest group: Samantha Bassler and Bruce Quaglia.