Related Calls for Papers

CfP: Emerging Paradigms: New Methodologies in Word and Music Studies
Aarhus University, Denmark, November 13-15, 2014.

The Word and Music Association Forum (WMAF) offers emerging scholars – mainly graduate students and postdocs – opportunities to present papers and to participate in a network of scholars who share an interest in word and music studies. WMAF was founded in 2009 under the auspices of the International Association for Word and Music Studies (WMA). The central event of the Forum is a biennial conference, held in alternating years with the WMA international conferences. We are pleased to welcome Sybille Krämer (Professor of Philosophy, Freie Universität Berlin) and Lawrence Zbikowski, (Associate Professor of Music and the Humanities, University of Chicago) as the conference’s two keynote speakers.

The third biennial conference of the WMA Forum, “Emerging Paradigms: New Methodologies in Word and Music Studies,” will be held at Aarhus University, Denmark, November 13-15, 2014.

As a field of study, the question of the relation of words and music naturally places itself within the general fields of interarts and intermediality studies. The coining of the notion of “intermediality” is linked to the fact that the theoretical field has undergone a broadening from a concern with the relation between art forms – to the inclusion of communication forms that do not necessarily categorize as “art” and therefore call for the overall term “medium.” The term “intermediality” has itself, in turn, been problematized by for instance Lars Elleström, who accentuates the benefits of studying “modalities,” shared by all media. Also, Jørgen Bruhn has proposed that “heteromediality” may be a more adequate word for describing the mixed quality of media.

Such terminological differences may have epistemological implications. Thus, the use of concepts such as “art” or “the work” risk seeming exclusive or normative while the concept of “medium” still lacks an established definition and is often very broadly applied; the broadest definition being perhaps Marshall McLuhan’s idea that “medium” amounts to all “extensions of man.” The study of words and music, as any inherently interdisciplinary research field, is characterized by a methodological multitude, and the choice of research paradigm influences the condition of the analysis in a tangible way. For instance, the study of words and/or music as “art works” is likely to limit the empirical scope to canonized/“classical” works and, as a consequence, requires the analytical object to be written representation rather than sounding performance.

Intersensory approaches, especially towards soundscapes, has received increasing interest in the aesthetic investigations of atmospheres (Böhme). As is evident in the proliferation of approaches that supersede traditional academic borders, such as Affect Theory or Sound Studies, interdisciplinary methods have increased; one example of such an endeavor is Mieke Bal’s metareflection on the interdisciplinary condition of analysis in
Cultural Studies. It would seem that insights developed in continuation of such paradigms would serve as a basis for further developing of the methods used in word and music studies. This conference thus aims to explore the rich field of current and upcoming methods and methodological problems connected to the study of words and music. We wish, in this sense, to “revisit” the research field and to take advantage of its diversity and productivity in examining possible new theoretical and methodological paths. Many basic problems of great relevance to the field have not yet been conclusively defined or do not exemplify the problem of analyzing words and music as a performative practice. The ambition of the conference is, through discussion of different approaches, to take a step towards establishing comprehensive and updated methodologies.

Paper proposals should be focused on theoretical and methodological questions on a meta-level, reflected in relation to specific sub-topics. Because it is a forum for emerging scholars we also welcome work-in-progress. All paper proposals should be of interdisciplinary interest.

Paper topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Travelling concepts in word and music studies. Are there terms, tools or conceptual breakthroughs in one discipline that might fruitfully be applied to the other? For instance:
  • Words and musicality: Words are in literary language often described or referred to as musical as well as music is discussed in terms of its ability to ‘speak’. How could such intermedial qualities be palpably described in analysis?
  • Affect and feeling in word and music studies: How can affective analysis be productive in word and music studies?
  • Literacy versus orality – visuality versus aurality: What are the theoretical and methodological implications of investigating words and music as texts as opposed to performances?
  •  Word and Music- and Sound Studies: What are the theoretical and methodological implications of examining words and music as ephemeral sound in time? Can words and music be informed by the interdisciplinary tradition of Sound Studies, which engage with such areas as psychology, anthropology, cultural studies, etc.?
  • Word and music studies in relation to semiotics and cognitive semiotics
  • Differing positions between national critical traditions

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

Sybille Krämer, Professor of Philosophy, Freie Universität Berlin
Lawrence Zbikowski, Associate Professor of Music and the Humanities, Department of
Music and Deputy Provost for the Arts at the University of Chicago.

Please submit abstracts of ca. 300 words plus a brief biographical statement (ca. 50 words) to by August 1, 2014. Please note that in order to allow adequate time for discussion, papers must not exceed 20 minutes.

The conference committee at Aarhus University, Denmark:

Ane Martine Lønneker
Lea Wierød
Jakob Schweppenhäuser
Thomas Bøgevald Bjørnsten
Birgitte Stougaard Pedersen

The Word and Music Association Forum:

Beate Schirrmacher (Stockholm)
Mario Dunkel (Dortmund)
Emily Petermann (Göttingen)

CfP *Deadline Passed*: “The Languages of Popular Music: Communicating Regional Musics in a Globalized World” (29th September – 2nd October 2014, University of Osnabrueck, Germany)

Arbeitskreis Studium Populärer Musik e.V. (ASPM) and the University of Osnabrueck are inviting scholars of all disciplines studying popular music to submit proposals for the international conference “The Languages of Popular Music: Communicating Regional Musics in a Globalized World”. The conference will take place at the Insti- tute for Musicology and Music Education, University of Osnabrueck, Germany, from 29th September to 2nd October 2014.

The conference will discuss the manifold interactions between different regional cultures as well as between the regional and the global in popular music. We welcome contributions to the following four fields of research:

1. Communication theory and discourse analysis: How can we describe the world wide communication between popular music cultures theoretically? Is there some- thing like a global, universally understood discourse of pop? The case of hip hop, being appropriated by musicians internationally, may confirm this assumption. Or should we rather construct a model of interacting regions fighting for dominance? This would be necessary if we could prove that the music leading the charts around the world never loses its local signifiers. Is it helpful to apply a single definition of what popular music might be in order to explain related phenomena on a global scale?

2. Analysis of music, lyrics and performance: How do global and local principles work in popular music? Local signifiers may help with the individuation of a pop star on the global market. But how local may a song sound without endangering its proliferation? Which role does language play as a sign for origin and belonging? Can we apply the terms of ‘exotism’ and ‘orientalism’ to the use of local signifiers in popular music? Are local signifiers in a certain song to be considered as mere em- bellishments or as its structural basis?

3. Sociology, economy, politics: Which social, economical and political conse- quences has the difference between the global and the regional in popular music? Like all communication systems the languages of popular music make a difference: Who is in and who is out and who has the power to define? Conflicts between the global and the local as well as between different regions themselves may be re- solved through laws, censorship or media control, securing the dominance of cer- tain sign systems. Regional symbolic systems like tradition, national identity, ‘race’, religion or moral may support foreign influences or work against them. In some societies using a musical language of a global or a certain local origin may bea seen as an act of rebellion and can therefore become a subject of repression. In some social groups foreign influences may be considered as an act of imperialism or as a sign of perdition of a certain culture. Migrants may cultivate the musical cul- tures of their regions of origin as a sign for belonging or adopt to the music of their new homes to demonstrate their degree of integration. Are melting pot cultures a model for the future or should we preserve traditional and regional popular cul- tures in their original form?

4. Typically German: ASPM’s 2013 conference discussed what German scholars considered to be “typically German” in popular music. For our 2014 conference we would welcome papers by non-German scholars discussing the Germanness of Ger- man popular music from an outside perspective.

Proposals are invited for: Organised panels

Round-table discussion sessions Individual papers

The conference will be organized along 90 minutes sessions.

Organised panels: We heartily invite themed panels with a clearly defined subject and a specialised issue. Our time slots of 90 minutes allow either two papers of 45 minutes each (a max. of 30 minutes plus at least 15 minutes for discussion) or three papers of 30 minutes each (15-20 minutes plus at least 10 minutes for discus- sion). Thus, a morning or an afternoon session (two times 90 minutes) may encom- pass four to six papers. Panels should not last longer then a day (eight to twelve papers). Convenors are requested to make sure that in their session enough time will be left for discussion.

Round tables are scheduled for one hour and a half and will encompass short presentations (not more than 10 minutes) plus the discussion of the relevant topic.

Individual papers should not exceed 25 minutes presentation plus 20 minutes dis- cussion. All sessions will be chaired.

Conference languages will be English and German. Individual papers can be held either in English or in German. Convenors of panels and roundtables should make sure that all participants can follow the discussion. Speakers presenting their pa- pers in German are requested to consider how to communicate their findings to anglophone participants (e.g. with the help of a power point presentation in Eng- lish).

Proposals: Session conveners for panels and roundtables should prepare a short abstract emphasising the relevance of the session topic (400 words), followed by short abstracts of individual papers (300 words) highlighting the main aspects of the contribution. They should also state the length of individual presentations (30 or 45 minutes).

Abstracts for individual papers should have a maximum length of 400 words. All proposals should contain the full address of all participants (incl. email) and their affiliation.

Each abstract should point out the research topic and the theoretical and/or meth- odological approach. Proposals should be sent as attachments to Prof. Dr. Dietrich Helms, popular- See for further information; a conference website is coming soon (

Prof. Dr. Dietrich Helms Institute for Musicology and Music Education University of Osnabrück Schloss / Neuer Graben 29 D-49069 Osnabrück

CfP *Deadline Passed*: Movies and Music: National and Transnational Approaches

20th SERCIA Conference

Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands

18 – 20 September 2014 (Thursday to Saturday)

The global appeal of films in the digital age is not only driven by impressive visuals but also by music. We not only watch a film: the soundtrack plays a crucial role in shaping our perception of what is shown on the screen. Music represents perhaps the most neglected paradigmatic medium, in spite of being a powerful influence on how films are understood and are able to cross national, cultural, and ethnic boundaries. Musicians, composers, sound designers, directors, producers, and distributors function as influential cultural mediators (in the sense of Stephen Greenblatt) who are constitutive in shaping regional, subnational and national identities. Thus, the theme Movies and Music raises broader issues in transnational studies, film studies, media studies, and studies in performance culture. The conference will bring together international scholars from diverse disciplines offering a discursive platform for the collaboration between film studies, cultural studies, American studies, musicology, ethnomusicology, performance culture, sound design, and media studies. We hope to decode the nexus between movies and music from historical, theoretical, and analytical perspectives. The conference will also tie in with the 70thanniversary of Operation Market Garden to liberate Europe from the Nazi occupation. Special focus will be placed on A Bridge Too Far (1977) in terms of music, sounds, multilingualism, as well as national and transnational forms of representation/reception. This part of the conference, reflecting the fact that key scenes of A Bridge Too Far were shot in Nijmegen, will be accompanied by a special screening and an exhibition entitled Movies, Memory, and Operation Market Garden.

Despite the centrality of our theme to film, media, and entertainment culture, the influences of music, sound effects, and language on the visual often remain on the fringes of academic investigations. Indeed, we do not yet have an established analytical language in order to understand the complex interplay of hearing and seeing a film. The conference Movies and Musicexplores, maps, and critically evaluates the creative interplay between sights, sounds, and synaesthesia, a phenomenon linked to the ability of seeing sounds, hearing colors, and associating colours, spaces, and emotions with sounds.

The conference will also explore many other issues. We especially encourage proposals on themes/areas such as:

  • music in silent film, the early sound era, New Hollywood, non-Hollywood narrative film, IMAX
  • music in film genres such as the western, (neo-)noir, horror, sci-fi, animation film
  • Broadway musicals, music bio-pics, dance movies
  • transcultural strategies in the use of film music and transnational composers (from Max Steiner to Hans Zimmer)
  • technical aspects such as surround sound, sensurround, 3-D audio
  • musical styles in movies from late romanticism via avant-garde to popular music
  • the use of pre-existing music, synthesizers, and sampling in film
  • music and film in performance culture, music in character and action scenes
  • collaborations between directors and composers, directors as composers (e.g. Charlie Chaplin, John Carpenter, and others — including, for comparative purposes, Sergio Leone, Tom Tykwer, etc.)
  • movies and music outside the multiplex, e.g. video games, museums, concerts, events, etc.
  • recent developments in transgressive performance culture (e.g. Josephine Machon)
  • film music and emotions, impacts on the brain, aesthetic and psychological responses
  • connections of painting, music, and art with case studies ranging from Walter Ruttmann’s experimental work in international modernism via Walt Disney (e.g. Fantasia, 1940) to contemporary avant-garde work in digital media
  • while SERCIA is dedicated to the study of English-speaking cinema, paper proposals comparing music in English-speaking cinema to that in non-English-speaking cinema are welcome

Please send proposals for and individual papers to
Frank Mehring ( and Melvyn Stokes (
Proposals should be 200-300 words including a short biography and contact details. (You do not need to be a member of SERCIA to submit a proposal but you will have to be a member to give a paper – the current subscription is 30 euros, 15 for concessions.)

 Frank Mehring (Head of American Studies, Radboud University) and Melvyn Stokes (University College London, President of SERCIA)

Program and updates:

CfP *Deadline Passed*: Audionarratology: Interfaces of Sound and Narrative

Jarmila Mildorf & Till Kinzel (Paderborn)
International and Interdisciplinary Conference, University of Paderborn, 11-12 September 2014

Confirmed keynote speakers:
Elke Huwiler (Amsterdam)
Alan Palmer (Durham County)

Sound and narrative pervade our lives from an early age onwards. The voice of our parents reading bed-time stories to us, the favorite song lyrics that form the soundtracks of our lives, the audiobooks we listen to when we need an alternative to reading stories, the radio plays we hear when tuning in to our favorite radio station, the sound effects and music that intensify our emotions when watching a movie. There are boundless examples for the ways in which sound and narrative intersect. It is these interfaces we want to explore in more depth during an international and interdisciplinary conference to be held at the University of Paderborn from 11 to 12 September 2014. Sound in this context incorporates the whole spectrum from structural sound, as in music, to noise or prosodic features of voices, for example. The proposed research paradigm operates on the boundaries to related fields such as literature and music or narrative and intermediality. Unlike the former, audionarratology focuses more strongly on the relationship between forms and functions of sound and/as narrative. In contrast to the latter, it narrows down its interest to aural media and to oral/aural channels in other media, thus shifting emphasis away from typical questions concerning text-image relations and the visual in recent cultural studies. Some of the main questions we would like to address are: How does sound highlight and support narrative structure in aural genres such as audiobooks, radio plays or songs? What happens if the narrative voice of fiction is given a real voice in audiobooks or, more generally, in stories that are read out loud? How do listeners respond to such voices? In what ways can sound performances be or become narrative in nature? How do narrative texts provide templates for sound effects? How is sound verbally encoded in narrative texts?

Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Forms and functions of voice and sound in aural genres such as audiobooks or radio plays
  • Voicing the ‘narrative voice’: reading out loud and its narrative effects
  • Oral performance, sound effects and narrative in audio-visual media
  • Music, sound and narrative in songs
  • Musical adaptations of novels and stories
  • Sound effects in hypertexts
  • The sound of silence in narrative
  • Sound and voice in (narrative) poetry
  • Mishearing and narrative misunderstanding
  • Sound, voice and narrative affect
  • Exploring the boundaries between aural genres

Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words and bionotes to and/or