Apr 17Apr 18, 2021, 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM


A registration link will be posted to this event by early 2021.

Virtual mode: Please note that the entirety of the conference will be held remotely via Zoom. You can read or pre-record your 20-minute presentation, but you must be present for the 10-minute Q&A. We welcome scholars based in all locations, however please take into consideration that activities will be scheduled between 9am and 9pm Central US Time.

Language: All presentations must be in English. However, we have the capacity to live translate during the Q&A into English for those presenters who would rather respond in Spanish.

Registration price: $20 per person. However, if you need a fee waiver or reduction, please get in contact with us and we will be happy to work with you!

Keynote Speaker: Ana María Gautier (Columbia University)
Artist in Residence: Tanya Kalmanovitch (The New School and the New England Conservatory)
Guest Performer: João Renato Orecchia Zúñiga

Music has long been considered in many bodies of scholarly thought to be ephemeral and immaterial. Historical musicologists have probed the ontology of music, describing it variously as an ideal (non-material) object, a text, or as located in the score or “musical work.” Ethnomusicology, on the other hand, has posited music not as a static object but as an always-changing process or an action, what Christopher Small calls “musicking.” However, musicological and ethnomusicological approaches alike have primarily depending upon linguistic paradigms. Additionally, both musicology and ethnomusicology have had a preoccupation with semiotics, and have centered their analyses around a core question: what is the meaning of music? Literature decoding musical meaning where scholars explore the discourses and narratives around various types of musics abound whether or not a connection to “culture” at large is established.

Increasingly, work in musicology and ethnomusicology has engaged more critically with material and embodied understandings of music. Studies in this body of work have developed new approaches to understanding musical instruments, to the human body as a musicking agent, to music as understood through embodied movement, and to music as a material technology.  Far from simply abandoning or rejecting the linguistic turn, we are interested in approaches that intertwine the discursive and material registers in seeking to understand what music or sound do, rather than what they mean.

Inspired by “new materialist” interventions, we invite you to critically bring music and sound back to the realm of things. We especially welcome presentations with a clear emphasis on expanding and putting pressure on the Western-centric topics and epistemologies that model much academic thought. Potential lines of inquiry include, but are not limited to:

  • Physical ways of apprehending music and sound: vibration, force, etc. (e.g. electronic music’s visceral feeling, music in torture, music/sound in space)
  • Considerations on Marxist historical materialism: material conditions as determinant of musical processes/products rather than or along with aesthetic or cultural ideals (e.g. songs to coordinate worker’s movements, WAM NGOs in “non-Western” countries)
  • Musicians or technicians of matter? Luthiers and instrument (New organology, materials used for instrument-building, craftsmanship), performers and the limitations/possibilities of the musical instrument, the tactility of music production
  • Musics’ material culture: merch, memorabilia, material music reproduction (e.g. CDs and LPs [all formats], scores and sheet music), fashion and trendiness
  • Music and material livelihoods: the music industry, the gig economy, busking, music and global flows of capital, musical commodities, muzak
  • Music, sound and space: acoustics, listening and spatiality, music and the city (e.g. urbanization processes and music scenes)
  • Subject-object relationships: the agentive object (e.g. instruments that “fight back,” overly sensitive microphones), musical instruments as bodily extensions, the body as musical instrument (the voice, mouth as resonating chamber, body percussion [flamenco palmas, hambone], beatboxing), sonic/musical assemblages and distributive agencies
  • Music and sound as a material tool for regulating human and non-human bodies: sound and protest, policing music and sound, noise ordinance, music as subjected to and as a means of surveillance

Deadline for presentation submissions: February 15, 2021

Please submit a single word or pdf document with the following to newmaterialismsinmusicandsound@gmail.com:

  1. Full name of presenter
  2. Institutional Affiliation (if applicable)
  3. Email address
  4. 300-word abstract
  5. 100-word max bio
  6. Format: paper presentation, roundtable or panel*, or performance

*Roundtables are limited to 4-6 participants for a 2-hour time block and panel proposals are limited to 3 or 4 presenters. In either case, please send a collective 300-word abstract in addition to individual abstracts

UT Austin Association of Graduate EthnoMusicology Students (AGEMS) Officers

Vicky Mogollón Montagne, Co-President, Ethnomusicology
Flannery H. Jamison, Colloquium Representative, Musicology
Andy Normann, Colloquium Representative, Ethnomusicology
Golriz Shayani, Secretary/Treasurer