Music and Musicology in the Age of Post-Truth

7-8 September 2018 University College Dublin

In recent months alternative facts, fake news and similar terms have become more and more commonplace among politicians, media and other public influencers alike in what is now often called the age of post-truth. Expertise appears to be discredited, gut feeling at least as important as facts, and facts themselves no longer valid and reliable. Often postmodernism and poststructuralism are blamed for the rise of a relativism that lies at the heart of post-truth attitudes. But is this really the case? And how should an academic subject such as musicology react to this development? Given the impact that postmodernism and post-structuralism have had on our disciplinary development, do we as academics in general and musicologists in particular have a special responsibility to engage productively with this challenge – as researchers, educators and last but not least as citizens? Are there potential music- specific reactions to the post-truther’s mindset? How can / should we adjust our teaching in this environment? And what role does music / do musicians play in the new “culture war” that we now find ourselves in? How is music utilised by either side? Are there differences in the responses from within popular, traditional and art music (and their respective musicologies)? Is our task as academics to neutrally analyse and describe developments, or rather to try and actively influence them through research, teaching and as public intellectuals – and if so, how?

This conference, jointly hosted by the UCD School of Music and the UCD Humanities Institute, and supported by the Society for Musicology in Ireland, the Irish chapter of the International Council for Traditional Music, and the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (UK and Ireland) will investigate these and similar questions. We invite proposals for papers of twenty minutes’ duration to be followed by ten minutes of discussion.

Please submit abstracts of up to 250 words, together with a CV of up to 150 words, your contact details and the technical requirements of your presentation in a single, word-compatible file by Friday, 9 March 2018 to wolfgang.marx@ucd.ie. We also invite proposals for themed sessions; in this case there ought to be an additional abstract of 150 words outlining the rationale behind the session. We aim to notify participants within four weeks after the deadline.

Conference Committee

Wolfgang Marx (University College Dublin)
Siobhán Donovan (University College Dublin)
Anne Fuchs (University College Dublin)
John Millar (University College Dublin)
Lonán Ó Briain (University of Nottingham) Caroline O’Sullivan (Dublin Institute of Technology) Timothy Summers (University College Dublin)

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