Saturday, November 10, 2012

CFP: Music of the Spectacle

Third Annual Stony Brook Graduate Music Symposium

CFP:  “Music of the Spectacle” 

The Stony Brook Music Department announces its third annual Graduate Music Symposium, to be held February 22-23, 2013. We welcome graduate students from all disciplines to submit paper proposals on aspects of music and spectatorship, broadly conceived. The symposium will feature a keynote address by David J. Levin (University of Chicago), as well as a performance of a new chamber adaptation of Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel

In The Emancipated Spectator (2009), philosopher Jacques Rancière presents what he calls the "paradox of the spectator." Without the spectator, the theater (auditorium, concert hall) would not exist; but the spectator's gaze is a bad thing. On the one hand, without the spectator-listener, the performance would remain unheard. On the other, the gaze is construed as othering or irresponsibly passive. Scholars often oscillate between these two poles––the first celebrating, the second denouncing. We invite papers that critically explore the space between these two poles.

Musical spectacles have assumed many guises from the earliest examples to modern practices. What strategies have compositions, performances, and stagings used to connect or disconnect the gaze? A musical spectacle addresses itself to both the ear and the eye. How can we understand the relation between these two senses? What is the relationship between the bodies on display in performance and the spectator-listener? How are identities of performers and audiences created or dissolved? How does technological mediation enable or short-circuit spectatorship?

Possible topics for our symposium include:

            Ethics of spectatorship
            Critical readings of spectacular works/productions
            Technological mediation  
            Emancipated spectating/listening
            Visual texts vis-a-vis audible or other texts
            Musical ekphrasis
            Depictive musical works
            Visual musical practices
            Visible production of identities

We invite submissions of 250-word abstracts for 20-minute papers and 40-minute lecture recitals. Please submit proposals to  by Friday, December 29. Stony Brook is accessible via JFK and MacArthur Airport, the Long Island Rail Road, and the Bridgeport/Port Jefferson ferry. Housing with Stony Brook graduate students may be available for presenters staying overnight. For more information, please visit

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