Call for Submissions

Sounding the Break: Music Studies and the Political

A Special Issue of Current Musicology, due February 15, 2018

Scholarly music studies is currently facing an array of political and intellectual challenges that have prompted a pointed moment of critical self-reflection, a conjuncture Stuart Hall might call a break, in which “old lines of thought are disrupted, older constellations displaced, and elements, old and new, are regrouped around a different set of premises and themes” (1980). Chief among contemporary challenges are a chorus of increasingly urgent calls to reveal and challenge structures of power and inequality, to theorize potent, sincere, and comprehensive paradigms of diversity and inclusion, and to challenge ideologies that shape what are recognized as acceptable objects, subjects, subjectivities, discourses, and methods in scholarship on music and sound. Beyond debates over the contents of Western canons, or the inclusion of “non-canonical” musics and musicians to the inventory of suitable objects of study, these challenges require an interrogation of the core values, political investments, and material ramifications at the heart of music scholarship.

Embracing this moment of institutional and intellectual self-reflexivity, Current Musicology invites submissions for a special issue, Sounding the Break: Music Studies and the Political. With this issue, the editorial board endeavors to inspire an interdisciplinary critical examination of formations of the political embedded within musical thinking in the academy. We especially encourage discussions that interrogate the patterns of power, structures of inequality, and logics of inclusion, exclusion, and division that have long underwritten musical knowledge production and pedagogy.

The following are examples of some possible avenues to explore:

  • What it might mean to “decolonize” music research and pedagogy in the academy;
  • Ideologies and practices of inclusion and exclusion in musical thinking and teaching, especially in relation to the marginalization of discourses, subjects, and subjectivities; of particular interest are ideas on rethinking multiculturalist diversity paradigms;
  • White supremacy and discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, nationality, indigeneity, religion, ability, and other categories of difference;
  • The place of Western art music, masterworks, and the logics, political investments, and material effects of canons and canonization;
  • Examining the very notions of music and sound;
  • Imagining alternative disciplinary histories, modes of operating, and intellectual lineages outside Euro-American contexts;
  • Reexaminations of academic curricula and pedagogical methods;
  • Innovative proposals for the future of music teaching;
  • The role of social engagement in academia;
  • Political economy, the crisis in the humanities, and US academia after Trump.

This call is open to all disciplines and all perspectives, both inside and outside North America and Europe. We especially encourage submissions from perspectives underrepresented in academia. We will review both traditional academic articles (3,500-9,000 words) and alternative formats of writing, such as shorter commentaries and dialogs.

The deadline for submissions is February 15, 2018. For submission guidelines, please visit our website at For questions, please contact the editor at Current Musicology is a leading forum for research in all areas of music scholarship, seeking to reflect the breadth and diversity of approaches and topics that characterize contemporary music research.

If there is no current call for submissions, or the due date has passed, please contact the journal before submitting.