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Special Issue of Americas: Sound, Activism, and Social Justice

Posted: March 22nd, 2021 | Filed under: Calls for Papers | No Comments »

Recent use of music and sound in social and political activism has recalled attention to their emotive, rhetorical, and infiltrative power. From the 2019 protests in Chile against economic inequality to the protests following the death of George Floyd in 2020, activists have seized upon music and sound–and creative methods to deliver them–not only to deploy urgent political messages, but also as tools to foster, enact, and sustain social change. We are acutely aware that change occurs not only through sonic emission but that it also requires listening. As recent studies have shown, aurality is a process through which people make sense out of the natural, social, and cultural world where they live. As such, aurality is not apolitical, since listening to sound–and to the messages it carries–is sensitive to power relations that mediate the circulation of aural messages in the public sphere. Thus, emission and listening have the potential to be activist strategies to contest politics of exclusion in order to effect objective transformations in the status quo.

In this spirit, Americas: A Hemispheric Music Journal invites article submissions for a themed issue seeking to advance dialogue in music studies around activism and social justice in the American hemisphere, focusing on recent events but also the historical past. We invite authors from music and sound studies, as well as from across the Humanities, who aim to expand research and scholarship in this area to consider topics such as:

  • Music and sound in street activism
  • Sonic strategies for confronting or combatting marginality, neglect, or invisibility
  • New digital and social media strategies for musical activism
  • Representations of musical and sonic activism on the large and small screen
  • Explorations of the political efficacy of musical and sonic activism
  • Listening, performance, and censorship
  • Aurality as a political intervention
  • Sound and infrapolitics

Articles of 6,000-8,000 words in length can be sent to [email protected]. Submissions should include text, all necessary figures, and a 100-200 word abstract. Deadline: Friday, July 2, 2021

In addition, authors may also submit shorter essays of 2,000-3,000 words as part of the journal’s “Listening In” feature. “Listening In” offers a more immediate exploration of musical scenes and the spaces and places that music is made, offering authors and readers an opportunity to explore performances, protests, and local soundscapes through a closer lens than traditional formats often allow. We also solicit contributions to our “Dialogues” section, which features interviews with composers, musicians, and others in the musical field whose direct perspective will be of interest to readers. We encourage the submission of edited interview transcripts of 1,500-2,000 words (including a short introduction). While it is encouraged that the interviews fit with the issue theme, it is not required that they do so.

Submission guidelines: Authors should use endnotes, not footnotes or parenthetical reference; and conform styles to the Chicago Manual of Style. Authors whose articles are accepted will be asked to provide camera-ready, publication-quality musical examples. Authors are responsible for obtaining and providing necessary copyright permission.

Inquiries about this issue or general inquiries about the journal should be sent to Issue Editor Jesus Ramos-Kittrell at [email protected] or to the Editor-in-Chief Susan Thomas at [email protected]

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