Welcome to The International Association for the Study of Popular Music UK and Ireland Branch

Music, Sound, Space and Place: Ethnomusicology and Sound Studies

Posted: June 22nd, 2019 | Filed under: Calls for Papers | No Comments »

British Forum for Ethnomusicology and Société française d’ethnomusicologie, Joint Autumn Conference 2019

31 October-2 November
Department of Music, City, University of London

The British Forum for Ethnomusicology and the Société française d’ethnomusicologie invite proposals on the general theme of ethnomusicology and sound studies for their joint 2019 autumn conference, which will be held at City, University of London.

It might be argued, perhaps a little simplistically, that ethnomusicology has always been involved with sound studies, since its practitioners have often engaged with sounds that challenge conventional views of what constitutes ‘music’ through their examinations of sung poetry, chants, percussive ritual accompaniments, etc. The field was thus well placed to build on the early work of R. Murray Shafer in the 1960s and ‘70s in what is now termed acoustic ecology, and scholars such as Steven Feld asserted in the 1980s new auditory horizons for ethnomusicologists. In the following decades many others have engaged in research which is fluidly situated between anthropology, musicology, acoustics, environmental studies and musical creativity. In such work, listening and the auditory experience are seen as essential components of human musicking and of the relationship between human lives and the spaces and places in which they are lived. These approaches have provided new insights into longstanding ethnomusicological concerns involving emplacement/displacement, identity construction, the politics of sound, etc. Today these are augmented by, for example, growing interests in music and ecology, or the complex relationships between geographical space and digital music cultures.

This conference invites contributions from all researchers working in this broad scholarly field. Proposals are invited for:

  • Papers (20 minutes with 5–10 minutes for questions)
  • Organised sessions (3 or 4 linked papers around a theme, totalling 1.5 or 2 hours)
  • Round table discussion sessions (3 or 4 shorter presentations, around 15 minutes each, followed by a chaired discussion, totalling 1.5 or 2 hours)
  • Films or other media presentations.

Proposals for presentations in non-traditional formats are also welcome, although we advise contacting the committee in advance at the email address below.

Proposals for papers, films, and media presentations should include the name and email address of the proposer; a title; an abstract (not exceeding 250 words); and a brief description of any special technical requirements.

Proposals for organised sessions should include three or four separate proposals (following the above guidelines) and an overall abstract for the session (not exceeding 250 words).

Proposals for round table discussions should include the names and email addresses of the proposer and other participants (the proposer will be assumed to be the chair unless otherwise stated) and an abstract for the session explaining the contributions of the participants (not exceeding 750 words).

The languages of the conference will be French and English. Proposals should be submitted as Word or PDF files to [email protected]


Successful applicants will be notified by the end of July. Please note that all presenters must be members of the BFE or the SFE. Note also that the conference will incorporate the annual John Blacking lecture, organised by the Royal Anthropological Institute, which will be held at the British Library on the evening of 31 October.

The organising committee comprises:

Cassandre Balosso-Bardin (University of Lincoln)
Stephen Cottrell (City, University of London)
Byron Dueck (Open University)
Christine Guillebaud (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
Laudan Nooshin (City, University of London)
François Picard (Sorbonne Université)

Any queries: [email protected]

Leave a Reply