Music & Disability at SAM 2012

In recent years, musicologists and music theorists, as well as other scholars, have created a considerable body of scholarship examining the intersection of music and disability. Music and disability studies, drawing heavily on pioneering work done in disability studies (which seeks to identify and interrogate social, political, and cultural constructions of disability), has developed into a robust but still expanding sub-discipline within musicology, music theory, and other areas of the humanities. Music and disability is a complex and broadly construed topic, encompassing research from several scholarly approaches. The musicological/historical perspective can be represented by recent work focusing on narrativity and disability in music (Honisch, 2009), the performance of disability, or musical significations of disability (Rogers, 2006). Ethnomusicological research includes studies on cultures of blindness (Rowden, 2009) and Deaf/deafness as well as other groups and communities of disabled individuals, including disability activists, the disability arts movement, and bands comprised of disabled musicians or whose music focuses on disability. Theoretical approaches to music and disability are exemplified by analyses of disability and late style and disability and “normalizing” (Straus, 2006, 2008); pedagogy/academia, which includes the examination of teaching techniques and approaches for universal access such as discussed in the context of popular music by Challis (2009) and the practices and experiences of faculty and staff with disabilities; and scientific inquiry, represented by research on amusia, autism and pitch (Brown, et. al., 2003), and the neurology of music perception and creation (Marin and Perry, 2009). Americanists have also taken up disability studies as a method of understanding our cultural and political heritage as members of both U.S. (Longmore, 2003) and North American or Pan-American societies. While disability interest groups have made presentations and sponsored sessions at other music conferences, we have not yet seen such events at the national SAM meetings. This seminar will help fill that need and speak to the many SAM scholars who have interests in the field.

Unlike regular SAM sessions, in which papers are read, papers accepted for the conference seminars will be posted at a password-protected location in advance of the conference, where they may be read by all interested SAM members. The bulk of the conference session will be devoted to discussion of the papers as they relate to the general theme. Since papers will be posted electronically on the web, we would like to encourage materials that are recently published or “in press” as one kind of submission that would be appropriate for the seminar structure. These papers may be full articles, up to 20 pages, and should include notes, examples (where relevant), and bibliography. All proposals should be submitted in the usual way by the regular SAM deadline, except that the specific seminar topic should be clearly specified. Unless the author specifies otherwise, abstracts not accepted for either of the two seminars may be considered by the program committee for one of the regular sessions.

Although papers for the seminars will not be “read” in the traditional sense, the act of participating in the seminar as a presenter and defending the ideas of one’s paper constitutes the same level of participation in an academic conference as would a normal paper. For this reason, those submitting abstracts toward a seminar cannot also submit toward a regular session.
Presenters must be members of the Society and are required to register for the entire conference. The committee encourages proposals from those who did not present at the 2011 Cincinnati meeting, but all proposals will be judged primarily on merit. An individual may submit only one proposal. With the exception of concerts and lecture-performances, all proposals should be submitted only through the online electronic submission process.
Proposers for all except concerts or lecture-performances must specify whether the proposal is for 1) paper, 2) poster, or 3) either presentation format, the latter to be determined by the Program Committee as it builds sessions. Individual or joint papers and papers in organized panels should be no longer than twenty minutes. Concerts and lecture-performances should be no longer than thirty minutes. For organized panel session proposals, the organizer should include an additional statement explaining the rationale for the session, in addition to proposals and abstracts for each paper.
Include the following for ALL submissions:

Proposer’s name, e-mail address, and institutional affiliation or city of residence
250-word proposal
100-word version of your proposal suitable for publication in the conference program (.txt or .rtf format). Include proposer’s name and email, and the proposal title in this file.
Audio and visual needs selected from the following list only: CD player, overhead projector, DVD player, digital projector. Due to logistics and the high cost of renting this equipment, we cannot accommodate AV changes once a proposal is accepted.
Specify whether you are a student (and therefore eligible for certain student grants or awards) or are eligible for the Cambridge Award.

All materials must be electronically date-stamped by 15 June 2011. Postal submissions for concerts and lecture-performance materials only should be addressed to: W. Anthony Sheppard, Chair, SAM 2012 Program Committee, 54ch Chapin Hall Dr., Department of Music, Williams College, Williamstown, MA 01267. Questions about the submission process may be sent to:

How the Seminar Will Work
A final paper and 500-word abstract for that paper will be due from each participant no later than January 15, 2012 and should be sent to the seminar’s chair, Kendra Preston Leonard, at kendraprestonleonard[at]gmail[dot]com and posted to this wiki. Each seminar participant will also write a 250-word response to the papers in their specific sessions by March 1. These responses will be circulated prior to the meeting so that the focus of the seminar session at the SAM meeting can be discussion rather than summation of participants’ work. Abstracts for all papers will be made available for the seminar audience. The seminar session will include panel discussion about the papers and audience discussion about the topics of the session.