Submission Deadline: April 30, 2010
After a successful and invigorating first meeting of the Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Music in Canada working group in August 2009 at the University of Toronto, we are pleased to announce a second meeting on June 2 in Regina in conjunction with CUMS, IASPM Canada, and the CSTM. We welcome new members to this working group from all of the associations that will meet in Regina, as well as from scholars whose work addresses music in Canada from interdisciplinary perspectives.
Our meeting in Regina will focus on the Historiography of Music in Canada. As part of this meeting we will again welcome participants working in all genres of music and sound practices in Canada. This meeting will provide an opportunity for us to re-examine how ‘Canadian Music’ and Music in Canada have been alternately mythologized and narrated, as well as the ways in which we might further develop our writing on such musical practices. For this meeting we will adopt a format that allows for a 2-hour discussion of reading(s) on Historiography (TBA) that we will apply to the study of music in Canada. We welcome participants’ suggestions for reading(s). The morning session will be followed by two plenaries, each including two 30-minute presentations. Each presentation will be followed by a 10-minute respondent, and a 30-minute discussion of the presentation.
The following provides a list of questions of potential interest to participants of this upcoming working group meeting in Regina. Many of these questions have been drawn from our initial discussions on Historiography and Epistemology during the 2009 meeting in Toronto. We are interested both to build upon these ideas, and to explore a wider range of perspectives not included in the list below.
- Canadian music history has traditionally been written in relation to the unifying thematic narratives of the Canadian landscape, as well as through concepts of diversity and multiculturalism. To what degree are these unifying narratives still of use? Does their unity ultimately misrepresent musical practices across Canada? Do such narratives act as nation-building structures in themselves, and if so, how might we interrogate the nation-building processes such historicization represents?
- How do we bring other voices into the types of stories we tell about Canadian music? What modes of writing offer space for such voices to participate without subjugating them?
- To what extent does our writing intervene in the way knowledge is constructed in the multiple fields and publics in which it participates? How might we further explore models of ‘applied musicology’ or entertain more activist modes of engagement between the writing we do and those audience members and musicians who are present in the music practices we write about and the readers to whom we are directing our writing?
- What more synchronous modes of discourse between writing voice and subject matter might be of use in writing the histories of Canadian music?
- Who are the agents of history and should we care about how they relate to music. What images might we define that allow us to rethink the relationships of past, present, and future? What new shapes of history might better reflect the musical communities and practices in Canada that we study?
- How in general might we take greater risks in our writing? How might we better engage our audience through a more creative association with the particular musics we write about?
- There has been a striking reluctance to be critical of musical practices in Canada, as scholars on Canadian music have felt the need first to advocate for the value of the music under examination. It has been noted that “musicologists, more often perhaps than social scientists or even literary critics, have sometimes played the role of publicity officer for specific composers, musical traditions, or regions.” (Diamond) How might we expand our writing toward productive critique of Canadian musical practices?
- How might we explore the further reaches of the ways in which the musics of Canada affect us in both affirmative and critical aspects? Should we, as suggested by Ellie Hisama, cultivate a “musicology of the repulsive,” that is, a musicology that expresses our concerns regarding “music that we don’t care for [and] of music that we find dull, inept, or downright repulsive, [or] of music that we understand to negate, devalue, and disrespect who we are … ”. How might we develop alternative modes for discussing our attraction to particular works and practices as advocated by Suzanne Cusick and Marion Guck? (to name only two). How might we approach these while avoiding the pitfalls of becoming arbitrators of musical taste?
- How, in our writing, do we situate ourselves when telling of the embodied listening practices we engage in as members (or observers) of musical communities in Canada?