CFP: CFP Symposium Music and Subversion

Submission deadline: July 21, 2023

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This day-long symposium draws musicological, philosophical and psychoanalytical perspectives together with practice-led research to determine how music is subversive and the structural aspects of subversion. In drawing out intersections between these different disciplines, the symposium clarifies music’s role in contemporary society, how it can inspire collective action, and it’s the impacts on existing institutions and education.   

What is subversive is contingent on listening attitudes and contexts, which themselves have ramifications for how we explain musical actions and ontology. This symposium asks how musical material is transformed and what informs the future production of music. Possible questions to be asked include: what aesthetic content do modern audiences appreciate as subversive? In what sense is a contemporary performance of a piece like Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, 110 years on, still subversive? Does it still carry the same subversive character that saw it cause a riot at its premiere?  Can a musical work itself be subverted (through performance, for instance)? Does subversive music lie squarely with the music itself? Many of these questions illuminate a tension between notions of the musical work as a neo-platonic Form, and the social conditions that may inform its reception as subversive or revolutionary.   

This event is generously supported by the Musicological Society of Australia's Special Funding Scheme and the Philosophy of Sound and Music Study Group.  The symposium is on the 22 November 2023, at University House at the University of Melbourne.  While held in person, it also invites presentations over zoom.  Please forward abstracts of approximately 200 words for consideration to Alistair Macaulay ([email protected]) by 21 July.

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