Critical Perspectives on Music, Education, and Religion

In recent years, professional and academic discourses in Western music education have been increasingly secularized, distancing policies and practices from religion. A renewed consciousness of cultural diversity in music education, however, has revitalized discussion regarding the nexus of music, education and religion.

The presence of religion in music education contexts is a situation fraught with political, cultural, social, legal, educational, aesthetic, ethical, and religious tensions. This conference will bring together scholars from different disciplines for a critical examination of these complex issues in both theory and practice.

The Sibelius Academy at the University of the Arts Helsinki, invites paper proposals for a conference on August 20-22, 2014 and a subsequent book on topics at the intersection of music, education, and religion.
Papers from relevant perspectives and disciplines such as education, music education, critical pedagogy, musicology, ethnomusicology, religious studies, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, cultural studies, gender studies, policy studies, legal studies, etc. are welcome. Questions to be addressed may include:

• What role, if any, does or should religion play in the teaching and learning of music?
• What role, if any, does or should religious skepticism, agnosticism, atheism and other
varieties of non-belief play in the teaching and learning of music?
• What political, ideological, and historical considerations or matters of race, class, and gender come into play concerning the connections between music, education, and
• What are the considerations and justifications of including/excluding music associated
with religious celebration and rituals as part of school curricula?
• What are the connections between musical aesthetic experience and religious
experience? What might the relevance of these connections be for music education?
• What are the considerations of including/excluding religion in music education with regards to moral or personal development, to social or civic cohesion, or to other aspects of human flourishing?
• How do religious worldviews support or hinder the teaching and learning of music, curricular issues, personal and social development, or ethical beliefs and sensibility?
• How may particular religious traditions such as deist religions, paganism, spirituality, or
shamanism be seen to shape or relate to formal music education.
• How may historical perspectives offer insights on the relations between religions and
music education policy and/or practice?
• How do matters at the intersection of music, education, and religion arise and differ in
the context of the formation of national, regional, or ethnic identities?
• What is the relevance, if any, of questions concerning religious indoctrination, control, and censorship, to teaching and learning
• Are religious, educational, and musical values compatible?
• How do feminist, queer, or racial readings of music, education, and religion complicate
these issues?
• In what ways might popular musics support or subvert religious belief in educational

Please submit by 1 September 2013
• An abstract of maximum 500 words as Word compatible documents. Please DO NOT send pdf documents
• 1 page CV including current contact information
• Authors intending to submit their work to the edited volume should indicate this within
the abstract (e.g., “This paper will also be submitted to the book editors.”
• If you are interested in organizing a symposium, please contact the conference
organizers before submitting an abstract.
• Criteria for acceptance: original, well conducted and reported research, relevant to an
international audience, demonstrating sufficient command of the English language Please submit to:

Organizing Committee:
Heidi Westerlund, Sibelius Academy University of the Arts Helsinki, Finland Alexis Kallio, Sibelius Academy University of the Arts Helsinki, Finland Philip Alperson, Temple University, USA

For further information please visit the website or contact Alexis Kallio at

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