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Music, Health and Wellbeing: African Perspectives

Posted: December 1st, 2015 | Filed under: Calls for Papers | No Comments »

Special Issue of the Legon Journal of the Humanities (LJH)

Knowledge about the relationship between music, health and wellbeing is probably as old as humanity itself. Ritual specialists across the African continent and elsewhere have been making use of the therapeutic and curative potential of music and dance for millennia, just as ordinary people have used song, dance and play to enhance individual and collective wellbeing. Various philosophers have tried to come to terms with the healing powers of the performing arts, emphasising the close connection between art and human nature. More recent research in musicology, dance and performance studies, psychology, neuroscience, and medicine – to mention but a few of the relevant fields – has added much to our understanding of the socio-cultural, psychological as well as biological foundations of human-music interaction, shedding light on the influence of music on affective behaviour and our basic brain chemistry. Against this backdrop, music, dance and related art forms are increasingly employed in both informal and formal therapeutic settings to treat illness, alleviate pain, cure mental disorders and, more generally, to promote wellbeing.

Although the literature on the relationship between music, health and wellbeing is growing, it is only a handful of scholars in Africa who have explored this topic in depth. Meanwhile, it stands to reason that the healing potential of music and related performing arts is culture-specific and that some of the therapeutic uses to which certain kinds of music are put in one cultural environment may not necessarily be applicable in another setting. While there is a growing consensus that music can have a transformative impact on the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities, there is the need to investigate this phenomenon more systematically in African contexts and from specifically African perspectives.

The purpose of this Special Issue is, therefore, to further explore music’s transformative potential by investigating its role and that of related performing arts in formal and informal health care and in the promotion of individual and collective wellbeing. Music is understood, here, in a broad sense, as humanly organised sound and movement and therefore explicitly includes related performing art forms, such as dance and drama. Overall, we seek contributions that are based on original research and that discuss the nexus of music, health and wellbeing from various disciplinary as well as interdisciplinary perspectives. We specifically encourage multidisciplinary approaches that focus attention on socio-cultural settings and relevant contexts within Africa.

Subthemes to be explored include, but are not limited to:

  • The state of music and dance therapy in Africa
  • Music and dance in clinical settings
  • Music and dance in non-clinical settings
  • Popular music, health and wellbeing
  • Music and wellbeing in everyday life
  • Music, health and religion
  • The role of dance and other performing arts in health and wellbeing
  • Music and health in indigenous knowledge systems
  • Community music and social health
  • Singing, wellbeing and health
  • Music and pain/chronic illness
  • Music, dance and health in educational settings
  • The effects of background music and noise on health and wellbeing

The publication of articles is planned as a Special Issue of the Legon Journal of the Humanities (LJH) in 2016.

Contributors are initially invited to submit abstracts of not more than 300 words, plus references and five keywords, by Friday, 15 January 2016, to [email protected] and [email protected].

Please note that submissions should be based on original research. Abstracts must clearly outline the statement of problem, aims and objectives as well as the methodology of the research. In addition, authors should indicate their names and institutional affiliation.

Authors of accepted abstracts will be required to submit their manuscripts (5,000 – 8,000 words) by Friday, 29 April 2016. All article submissions will be subject to double blind peer-review. In the submission of their manuscripts, authors must follow the guidelines for contributors of the Legon Journal of the Humanities (access the author guidelines at www.coh.ug.edu.gh/ljh).

For further enquiries regarding the Special Issue, please contact the editors for this issue:

Dr. Florian Carl (University of Cape Coast, Ghana): [email protected]

Dr. Eric D. Otchere (University of Cape Coast, Ghana): [email protected]

For more general enquiries regarding the Legon Journal of the Humanities, please contact the general editor of the journal: Prof. Augustine H. Asaah: [email protected]

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