CFP: Song Studies 2020: Exploring Interdisciplinary Approaches To Songs And Practices Of Singing (1200-Today) – DL: 20 December 2019

Call for papers

The Amsterdam Centre for Cross-Disciplinary Emotion and Sensory Studies and THALIA, research group on the Interplay of Theatre, Literature & Media in Performance, present: SONG STUDIES 2020 – EXPLORING INTERDISCIPLINARY APPROACHES TO SONGS AND PRACTICES OF SINGING (1200-TODAY)

Ghent University, 1-3July 2020

Keynote speaker: Monique Scheer (Tübingen University)

The singing voice is a medium of expression that is found in all times and cultures. People have always been singing, not only to perform entertainingly, but also to express emotions or to embody identities. This  has  for  example  made  collective  singing (and  listening) practices a  primary  way  for  people  to articulate and embody the identities that are fundamental to the existence of social groups. The bodily and  sensory  experience  of moving  and  sounding  together  in  synchrony, enables individuals to experience feelings of togetherness with others. Song  is  the  versatile  medium  facilitating  such  processes. Songs can  evoke  and  channel  emotions, employing them for specific (or less specific) means. As a multimodal genre, song enables not only the articulation and  embodiment  of  ideas; as  an  inherently  oral and intangible medium, songs can  move through space and time, transgressing any material form. Therefore, songs have proven  an  ideal tool for the distribution of news, contentious ideas, or mobilising messages. This  conference  aims  to  bring  together  researchers from  various  disciplines investigating song (for example musicology,  literary  studies,  history,  sociology,  performance  studies,  cognition  studies, anthropology,  etc.). The  focus  will  be  on  the  definition  of possible  approaches  to  the  study  of  this medium (both in its material and performed existence), its performances (in any form) and reception (in any context). Research examples may cover songs written and sung in any culture and language, and any   (historical)   period. Common   ground will   be found through   concepts,   approaches and methodologies, encouraging an interdisciplinary and transhistorical dialogue, breaking ground for a new research field: song studies.

  • Possible research areas and questions to be explored are:
  • how to study the multimodality of the genre, acknowledging both textual and musical characteristics, and its performative nature;
  • the sensory/bodily and emotional/affective experience of listening and singing;
  • cognitive and/or affective processes of singing (and collective singing practices);
  • how to study the performative aspects of songs in historical contexts;
  • the ‘power’/agency of song; the role of song and singing in social processes and historical developments; etc.

We  invite proposals for 20-minute individual papers (max.  300  words) or alternative  formats  (pre-submission inquiry is encouraged). As the aim of this conference is to facilitate dialogue, there will be ample time  for  discussion  and  exchange. Please  send  your  proposal,  including  your  name,  academic affiliation and a short biographical note, no later than 20December 2019 to For more information and registration, see