Centre for Gender Studies - Institute for Music Aesthetics

Falling Out of Line: Music and the Exceptional

Friday 4 December to Saturday 5 December, 2015
Brandhofgasse 21, Aula

Music is represented historically by examples of exceptionalism (virtuosic, white, middleclass, able-bodied, heterosexual, European men), yet since the 1960s we’ve incorporated various outliers (e.g. female composers, disabled musicians, and various sexual and racial minorities) in an effort to revise this history. In turn, the outliers have become the exceptional; they are now celebrities with a historical presence enabled by the very circumstances that differentiate them. Whether by way of image, body, ideas, sexual history, life style, race, “special” abilities or capabilities, the previously deviant have come to the fore. Are eccentricities a prerequisite for such musical recognition? What traits define people as musically exceptional? What is the necessary background against which to frame musical exceptionalism? Where does one draw the line between the exceptional and the unremarkable? Who decides and why? This conference seeks to explore the history of exceptionalism in music, including the reception of musical works, musical instruments, people, and places.

We invite papers on music in constellation with exceptionalism. Possible topics may include, but are by no means limited to, the following:

  • · Positive and negative connotations of exceptionalism
  • · The exceptional in music marketing
  • · Music and competence
  • · Difference as the exception
  • · Conceiving diversity in a merit-based society
  • · Civil rights and equality
  • · The ethics of the extraordinary
  • · The line between the acceptable and the exceptional in music
  • · Standardization in music education

We welcome submissions for 20-minute papers dealing with music and the exceptional from all relevant disciplines, including musicology, music theory, ethnomusicology, sound studies, disability studies, gender studies, media and communication studies, and philosophy.

Abstracts should be no longer than 300 words, submitted by August 15, 2015 for anonymous review (without identifying the author) to: MusEx2015@gmail.com

We are happy to announce that the conference will provide modest financial support for students or scholars without institutional support. Please indicate in your submission email whether you would like to be considered for financial support, include your institutional affiliation (if any), the stage of your career, and a short description of your financial needs (travel, expenses, etc.). Additionally, we may have the opportunity to offer free childcare and special needs accommodation (e.g. sign language interpretation) for participants, so please also indicate if you require any such services.

For questions, do not hesitate to contact either Anna Benedikt [Anna.Benedikt@kug.ac.at] or Danielle Sofer [Danielle.Sofer(at)kug.ac.at]

Programm (draft)