The Construction of National Identity in Music

CFP: Music and National Identity

Date: March 14th-15th 2020

Location: Middle Tennessee State University

The Musicology Faculty in the School of Music at Middle Tennessee State University invites proposals of up to 300 words for scholarly presentations broadly aligned to the theme of the Construction of National Identity in Music.

Recently, The Guardian (March 6, 2019)identified a “Two decade surge in populist rhetoric…” With this rhetoric, a number of movements have embraced the ideal of national identity to achieve their political ends, particularly in music. From El Sistema’s rise a as model product of socialist Venezuela (now quite problematic), Ukrainian nationalism in Gangsta Rap, to popular Music in the U.S. such as Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” or Gary Clark’s “This Land,” through re-trenchment, reappropriation, and any number of other perspectives, national identity is a centered expression. Of course this is not new, nationalism has long been a subject of expression and study but with this in mind we hope to bring these expressions into context and dialogue.

We welcome a diversity of perspectives, not only of a cosmopolitan, but also an insularist perspective and perspectives beyond this tired dialectic–studies of music composed for, against, or that in some way articulate a nationalist identity. Submissions are welcome from across the spectrum of musicological investigation including historical, social, ethnographical, theoretical, or other approaches. Further, investigations of traditional, popular and classical music are all welcome.

Presentations may take the form of traditional presentations, panels, roundtable discussions, posters, or lecture recitals. Authors of the strongest papers will be invited to revise their work into critical essays for a projected book-length collection.

Please submit an abstract and short biography to Joseph.Morgan at mtsu dot edu by July 15, 2019.  Presenters will be notified by August 1 of the status of their applications.  _______________________________________________

Opera and Musical Theater in the United States

Date: March 23-25, 2018

Venue: Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN. United States (30 minutes south of Nashville)

Submission Deadline: November 1, 2017

Event Registration Deadline: March 15, 2018

Event Website:

Inquiries: Joseph E. Morgan Joseph.Morgan @

The program committee welcomes a diversity of methodological and disciplinary perspectives on opera and musical theater in the United States, including their precedents. From the imported and home-grown ballad operas of the 18th century (from Tom and Jerry to The Disappointment) to the musical skits and highbrow/lowbrow parodies of minstrelsy, from opera in the immigrant experience to contemporary productions at the Met or on Broadway, we seek topics and approaches that, when assembled, will provide a cross sectional glance at the rich and diverse history and culture of our subject.   As part of this diversity, we welcome perspectives from across the spectrum of musicological investigation including (but not limited to) those based on an ethnographical, historical, pedagogical, performance studies, sociological, or theoretical approaches.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • 20th and 21st Century Opera
  • Opera on Film
  • Canonization and Repertories
  • Minimalism and Post-Minimalism
  • Early predecessors of musical theater
  • Foreign opera adapted for the United States and
  • Traveling opera companies in the United States
  • Transatlantic connections, e.g. Britain and the United States
  • Transpacific connections, e.g. China and the United States
  • Masking, race, and gender: blackface, whiteface, drag
  • “Ethnic” theater: immigrant audiences, languages, and repertoires: Yiddish, German, Chinese, etc
  • Economics and demographics of urban musical theater
  • Touring circuits and related genres (Chautauquas, soloists, circuses, opera, blackface, vaudeville)
  • Musical theater and class: on-stage and in the audience

Presentations may take the form of traditional paper presentations (20 minutes with 10 minutes for questions), panel sessions, roundtable discussions, posters, or lecture recitals. Please note that submission of a proposal constitutes a full intention to attend the conference if the proposal is accepted. Authors of the strongest papers will be invited to revise their work into critical essays for a projected book-length collection

Submission Guidelines:

To be considered, please submit a 250-word abstract and a 50-word biography to Dr. Joseph E. Morgan at Joseph.Morgan at mtsu dot edu by November 1, 2017.  Presenters will be notified early January, 2018 of the status of their applications.