1st International Symposium: Awe, Wonder & Passion: Music & the Creation of Meaning. 10th-12th, Nov., 2012. Montreal, Canada

full name / name of organization: 
International Network for Alternative Academia

1st International Symposium:
Awe, Wonder and Passion: Music and the Creation of Meaning

Part of the Research Program on:
Aesthetic Lives, Artistic Selves

International Network for Alternative Academia
(Extends a general invitation to participate)

Saturday 10th to Monday 12th of November, 2012
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Call for Papers

This trans-disciplinary project seeks to understand the value and meaning music has in our lives, as well as the multiple ways music structures and informs our relationships, sense of place and self across historical periods and within cultural, political and social contexts. Exploring how music is created, received, consumed and appropriated, this symposium offers an opportunity to consider the ways in which music is interweaved with social and cultural processes of the construction of self, membership and community, and conversely with the generation of otherness, exclusion and isolation.

We invite colleagues from all disciplines and professions interested in sharing these explorations in a collective, deliberative and dialogical environment to send presentation proposals that address these general questions or the following themes:

1. Speak to Me: The Language of Musical Creation

- Can music be theorized?
- Is music analogous to language? How to understand a musical phrase, as a spoken or written sentence? What is the grammar of music?
- Are spaces between notes similar to pauses between words? What is the place of silence and pause in music? Can we conceive of the force and power of silence?
- Who do we hear speaking when we listen to music? What do we hear?
- Can there be neutrality in musical creation? Must music have an inherent meaning? Must it be created with intent?
- Can a novel be transformed into a piece of music? Can a piece of music be transformed into a painting? What are the challenges of ekphrasis?

2. Phenomenology of the Musical Realm: Emotions and Meaning

- What questions does music allow us to ask? What answers does it facilitate us finding?
- Can we conceive of music as a mode of enquiry? What would it require?
- How do context, culture and time link music and meaning?
- Is music love by another means?
- How is it that music taps into our emotions giving rise to great passion and great pain?
- What is the transformative value of music?
- How can we tell the story of the lived experience of ever present appreciation, yet ever changing meaning of music?
- What would a life devoid of music feel like? What would it sound like?

3. Creativity and Critique

- What metaphors can be most aptly employed to capture the process of musical creation?
- What is it about music and the musical experience that seems to invade and take over all senses, to overwhelm life-worlds?
- How does musical creation pay homage to the past? How does it allow for the re-envisioning of the future? What about the link to the present?
- Can the creative process be articulated? Can it be mapped? Can it be captured by discourse?
- How can we account for the awesome capacity that music has for breaking frontiers, shifting boundaries, inventing new forms of expression, redefining terrains, envisioning new horizons?
- How does music subtlety confront, contest and overturn even its own language and metaphors?

4. Roots of Music: Grounding, Context and Politics

- How is music and musical taste culturally and socially constructed?
- Given its roots in whorehouses and backrooms to its performance in music halls, how is music legitimized and sanctified?
- Is music politics by another means? What is the role of music during times of social, economic and/or cultural crisis?
- What is the interstitial value of music? Does it dissolve or re-instill binary oppositions created based upon race, ethnicity, gender, sex, geography and class? Does music challenge or reinforce such divisions as those made between center and periphery, self and other; and, the western and the non-western?
- How does improvisation encourage and inform challenges to the meanings and messages found in and through music?
- How are new technologies affecting the production, dissemination and appreciation of music?

5. Everyone's a Critic?

- Do we need special translators to appreciate music?
- Is there a need for music critics? How is the role of the critic being re-configured in the new media?
- Who gets to define the value of music, to dictate what constitutes musical "taste"?
- Who is talking back to critics? Are there efforts in sidestepping the place that critics have in the institutionalized visions of music evaluation?
- Is there space for debate about quality and creation of music?
- What can we learn from musicology and ethno-musicology?

6. Productive Forces/Instructive Bonds

- What institutions constrict and confine musical creation? What institutions expand it?
- Are new technologies and new modes of funding challenging traditional models?
- What factors -social, political and artistic- are informing the recent trend towards remakes, remixes and replays?
- What is alternative in alternative music?
- Why is there a need for music? What does it add and what does it subtract from our lives? Why does music persist?
- What does the investigation into the neurological foundations of music add to our understanding of music? What does it take away?
- Who is defending and protecting the dreams and fantasies made by music and the musical experience?

If you are interested in participating in this Annual Symposium, submit a 400 to 500 word abstract by Friday 25th of May, 2012. Please use the following template for your submission:

First: Author(s);
Second: Affiliation, if any;
Third: Email Address;
Fourth: Title of Abstract and Proposal;
Fifth: The 400 to 500 Word Abstract.

To facilitate the processing of abstracts, we ask that you use Word, WordPerfect or RTF formats only and that you use plain text, resisting the temptation of using special formatting, such as bold, italics or underline.

Please send emails with your proposals to the Annual Symposium Coordination address (mcm-1@alternative-academia.net) with the following subject line: Music & the Creation of Meaning Abstract Proposal.

For every abstract proposal sent, we acknowledge receipt. If you do not receive a reply from us within one week you should assume we did not receive it. Please resend from your account and from an alternative one, to make sure your proposal does get to us.

All presentation and paper proposals that address these questions and issues will be fully considered and evaluated. Accepted abstracts will require a full draft paper by Friday 31st of August, 2012. Papers presented at the symposium are eligible for publication as part of a digital or paperback book.

We invite colleagues and people interested in participating to disseminate this call for papers. Thank you for sharing and cross-listing where and whenever appropriate.

Hope to meet you in Montreal!

Symposium Coordinators:

Cheryl Sim
Commissaire Associée
DHC/ART Fondation pour l'art contemporain
Montréal, Québec, Canada
Email: c-sim@alternative-academia.net

Alejandro Cervantes-Carson
General Coordinator
International Network for Alternative Academia
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Email: acc@alternative-academia.net


Informational Note:

Alternative Academia is an international network of intellectuals, academics, independent scholars and practitioners committed to creating spaces, both within and beyond traditional academe, for creative, trans-disciplinary and critical thinking on key themes. We offer annual and biannual symposiums at sites around the world, providing forums that foster the development of new frames of reference and innovative structures for the production and expansion of knowledge and theory. Dialogue, discussion and deliberation define both the methods employed and the values upheld by this network.

Currently our website is under construction, but it will soon be available at: