ACLA CFP: Sounding the Hemisphere: Configurations of Music, Literature and Power Relations in the Americas

deadline for submissions: 
September 23, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
American Comparative Literature Association 2017 Annual Meeting
contact email: 


American Comparative Literature Association

Annual Meeting

July 6-9, 2017

Utrecht Universiteit, Netherlands

CFP Deadline: Friday, September 23, 2016.


Sounding the Hemisphere:Configurations of Music, Literature and Power Relations in the Americas

This seminar seeks to explore instances of engagement between the literary and the musical in the Americas, particularly during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. By interrogating the intersections between the literary, musical, and even the visual, how might we identify alternative constellations of cultural, religious, and political institutions that can help us raise questions of identity, race, gender, geography, and cultural belonging? How have writers, musicians, orators, singers, composers, performers, and translators shaped aesthetic categories and historical mappings of the hemisphere as they have interacted with each other?

Our seminar takes up the inquiry between the categories of music and literature in a way that explores musical configurations across multiple textualities. How have textualities such as the sonic, the graphic, the transcriptional, and the inscriptional been coded as “literature” and “music”? Practicing an acoustically attuned sensibility to the written word or exercising a literary sensibility to the sonic world may open up an interrogation of how music, literature, and “acoustic assemblages” (Ana María Ochoa Gautier, 2014) are grounded in uneven power relations.

Scholarly contributions are welcome from a wide range of disciplines including comparative literature, ethnomusicology, musicology, media studies, theatre, and dance and performance studies; and in all regional languages such as Spanish, Portuguese, French, English, and indigenous languages of the Americas.

Our seminar is inspired by:

  • The problem of “well-established and well-known repertoires of audile techniques” and how they are brought to bear on reading, writing and listening (Jonathan Sterne, The Audible Past, 2003)

  • The aural turn and the intersections between listening and the literary in light of Ana María Ochoa Gautier’s observation in Aurality (2014) that “listening is not a practice that is contained and readily available for the historian in one document but instead is enmeshed across multiple textualities, often mentioned in passing, and subsumed under other apparent purposes such as the literary, the grammatical, the poetic, the ritual, the disciplinary, or the ethnographic.”

  • Literary and musical discourses of oral cultures  

  • Media, technology, and sound studies (mediation, recording, reproducibility)

  • Romanticism’s debate on the hierarchy of genres


Submission Information:

Proposals of 300 words must be submitted through the ACLA website by Friday, September 23, 2016.

To submit a proposal, go to the ACLA website seminar page at and click “Login/Register to submit a paper for this seminar.”

Further information about submission guidelines can be found at



Helga Zambrano, Doctoral Candidate

Department of Comparative Literature 

University of California, Los Angeles


John Schranck, Doctoral Student

Comparative Literature Program

University of California, Santa Barbara