Conference Themes

1) Engaging Global Health and Climate Crises through Music and Dance

Expressive culture often reflects and shapes public sentiment toward societal problems; it can also open up non-violent, relational, humane pathways to achieving their solutions. This theme invites critical reflection on topics related to the intersection of sound/music and movement/dance with ecological and health concerns broadly defined. These concerns include relationships between cultural and environmental sustainability, between cultural and biological diversity, and between each of these with human and planetary health.

Contributions to this theme might explore music and dance in relation to: the COVID-19 pandemic; activist approaches to climate emergency; built and natural environments; and other-than-human life forms. How can an understanding of the role of expressive culture in complex systems contribute to global health or environmental policy? What practical benefits can sounding and moving offer in the face of widespread disease or ecosystemic peril? What are the environmental and health costs/benefits of our research practices—for us, for the people we work with, and for the planet?

2) Dance, Music, and Human Rights: Coexistence and Inequalities in the Contemporary World

Violations of human rights often manifest in the control or suppression of artistic activity, including music and dance; assertions of human rights, on the other hand, often take the form of artistic expression. Taking as its centre-point the fundamental human right to express one’s culture, this topic invites papers on the intersection of human rights with dance and music across ethnicities, religions, sexualities, and other forms of human identification. It invites research on the histories, philosophies, and politics of migration, citizenship, and post/colonialism. It also invites research on stigmatization based on geography, economic and health status, age, and gender.

Contributions to this theme might offer dance- and music- based strategies that effect change where human rights are violated, including war zones and situations where artistic freedom is restricted. We encourage scholarly and intimate voices, as well as theoretical papers discussing tools for understanding music and dance as processes/products through which to promote ideals of freedom, justice, peace, and human dignity.

3) Approaches to Archival Practices

For ethnomusicologists and ethnochoreologists, archival work is not as much a decision about using resources as it is a condition of our research: in the act of collecting, selecting, incorporating, and classifying repertoires, we build our own archives. Hence, the archive is no longer simply a place to store physical objects, but a process which defines a vast field of knowledge creation and mediation.

This theme invites papers on critical approaches to archival practices. In the age of digital humanities and open science, what is the place of institutional archives, of community or family archiving? In the domains of music and dance, what constitutes “data”? Who has the right to produce archives? What are the limits of authorship, privacy, and ownership in the context of open data policies? Contributions to this theme might also explore: archives as embodied individual and social memory; institutional ideologies and epistemologies; processes of assemblage; and methods for developing collaborative sound/music and dance/movement archives. Transdisciplinary approaches are very welcome.

4) Connected Communities: Ocean Trajectories and Land Routes

Music and dance are not only eminently portable forms of knowledge, but also permanently etched into the bodies and memories of their carriers. They are thus crucial to understanding communities connected through migratory, diasporic, colonial, post-colonial, and even touristic routes. Recent developments in oceanic studies focus on seas as sites for knowledge construction and, thus, as spaces for transdisciplinary inquiry. In addition to viewing oceans as places of passage/separation between continents, we can explore them as creative spaces that foreground processes of coexistence and alliance, conflict and conciliation. Are there differences between land and sea routes in building music and dance knowledge between communities? What challenges do music and dance scholars face today when oceans are again places of death, despair, political dispute, and an appeal for the right to life?

Contributors to this theme are encouraged to address historical and contemporary processes of interaction and interlocution through music and dance between communities connected by land and sea. Epistemological and methodological approaches are particularly welcome in grounding study cases.

5) Music and Dance Cosmopolitanisms

Cosmopolitanism advances the idea of a common engagement among all human beings. Ethnomusicologists and ethno- choreologists can take advantage of globalization’s heterodox opportunities to improve the conditions of conversability, to benefit from diversity and from its resultant cross-fertilizations. For a long time, the constructs of nationalism and the nation were upheld by approaches to music and dance research; we must now critically assess the impact of exploring boundaries between nations/territories/cultures in academic discourse. From the early twentieth century, music industries designed strategies for acknowledging and creating otherness in national and geographic terms—that is, until the emergence of World Music and Dance. Recent digital media have further blurred the characterization of musical and dance systems based on bounded cultures

Contributors to this theme are invited to address the relevance of boundaries in the narratives of ethnomusicology and ethnochoreology—their conceptual importance, their methodological role, and their impact on knowledge production. They are also invited to explore the ways that cosmopolitanist approaches can enlighten the ethnography of dance- and music-making.

6) Music and Dance Industries

Music, including music related to dance, is one of the most prolific cultural industries worldwide. Yet traditional music and dance industries have rather low profiles in ethnomusicological and ethnochoreological studies. Traditional music and dance are often conceptualized outside of or in opposition to industrial concepts such as supply and demand, goods and services, economic development, the division of labour, mass production; additionally, industrial models may be seen as threats to the sustainability of music and dance cultures.

Contributors to this theme are invited to address: current and historical processes of producing and distributing traditional music and/or dance styles; genres and traditions that fall under the aegis of the recording industry and its related publishing and media sectors; the organization of performance settings; professional associations and unions. What are the structural and performative features of recorded music and dance, their contexts of production, and consumption patterns? How do musicians and dancers manage competing industrial and non-industrial pressures on their work? How do artists position themselves in local and national markets, especially in transitional societies? How do music and dance industries reflect and/or create (new) social and political realities?