Thank you to Chris Nickell for sharing information on an upcoming conference at NYU on February 16 and 17th, 2018. He spoke to us about it at the Society for Arab Music Research meeting in Denver and it sounds like it will be fantastic. I’ll share the description here, but more information, including how to submit a proposal, is available at the conference website.

Submissions are due soon, on November 5th.

Call for Submissions: Precarious Sounds/Sounding Sanctuary

NYU Music Department Conference

February 16-17, 2018

We invite you to submit an abstract for a paper or a performance proposal for the conference “Precarious Sounds / Sounding Sanctuary” to be held February 16-17, 2018 and featuring Professor Josh Kun giving the keynote address. The conference is hosted by the Faculty of Arts and Science Music Department at New York University in New York City.

What are the sounds of precarity? The term “precarity” has been used across the humanities and social science fields to describe vulnerable modes of existence, especially as these lives participate in and are impacted by global financial systems, environmental degradation, group antagonisms, and structures of feeling.

We begin by acknowledging colonialism and capitalism as root problems that contribute to the precarity of our times, marked by widespread exploitation of the many by the few. Such exploitation results in varying degrees of vulnerability, insecurity, and uncertainties for humans as well as other inhabitants of Earth.

As music and sound scholars, we ask: What does this precarity sound like? How have music and sound strengthened communities’ resolve to live, persist, and resist as oceans, poverty, intolerance, and fascism rise? What relation do sounds and activism bear on the fight against precarity, as its condition of possibility? How can sound and music scholarship contribute to this activism?

At this conference, we invite critical approaches to the ways sound and music make, manifest, and mobilize against various kinds of precarity. We are particularly interested in sound and music’s role in the struggle against the insecurity of disenfranchised, displaced, refugee, and targeted peoples since the War on Terror. We welcome work that brings historical moments into conversation with our present conjuncture. We also seek work that critically expands or even challenges prevalent conceptions of sound, activism, and precarity, and creatively brings these terms into relation.

Topic examples include, but are not limited, to the following:

Vulnerability - The many frameworks that grow out of and feed into precarity—past and present— including late capitalist exploitation, Islamophobia and the “Muslim travel ban,” deportation and forced resettlement, state surveillance, police brutality, racial nationalism, permanent states of exception, and crisis ordinaries

“Human” “rights” - Defining the human and concomitant frameworks of rights as they determine paths to citizenship, asylum, and refugee status, especially in the contexts of multiculturalisms; the ways sound is mobilized in the judicial and the carceral systems

Sanctuary - The sounds and musics of safe harbor; how communities organize and allocate resources to those made especially vulnerable by biased policies, and how their humanist forms of aid form more just, prefigurative societies

Activism and Movement Building - Indigenous struggles for social and environmental justice, labor organizing, DREAMers movement building, urban clashes with police and protesters, mobilizing against hate crimes, and ethnographies and critical histories of soundful activists

Hearing Power - Sound studies and music scholarship that contribute critical insights to the histories, logics, and methods of agents of precarity; critical pedagogies of music and sound; scholarship and other forms of writing as a kind of acoustic sousveillance