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Conference: Music and Power: Historical Problems and Perspectives in Russia, Eastern Europe and Eurasia, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, February 28-March 2 2013)‏

Music and Power: Historical Problems and Perspectives in Russia, Eastern Europe and Eurasia

Miami University (Oxford, Ohio)

February 28-March 2, 2013

Sponsored by the Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies, and the Departments of Music, the School of Fine Arts, and the Jewish Arts and Culture Series (Posen Foundation)

Organizers: Dr. Rebecca Mitchell, Dr. Ricardo Averbach and the Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies

>From the time of Plato if not before, the fraught relationship between music and power has attracted commentary, discussion and debate. Focusing primarily on the lands of Russia, Eastern Europe and Eurasia, this conference will unite scholars from across the disciplines to examine how power relations and musical expression have mutually informed and shaped each other over time. Those in positions of power have traditionally sought to control music’s communicative and transformative potential – either by directly limiting it (perhaps most noticeably when censors have declared a work or composer “unsuitable” for ideological reasons), or by harnessing it for their own ends. But music has also been employed as a means of resisting or undermining power relations of all kinds. Thus while music and power are clearly entwined within the public sphere, this relationship has also found expression in more subtle forms of human interaction and has shaped the
expression of multiple politically relevant identities (national, ethnic, religious). This conference will address important questions regarding the multifaceted interrelationship between music and power, including but not limited to: Who decides what constitutes “suitable” music within a given social, political and historical context? What role has censorship played in shaping musical expression? How has music been implicated in abuses of power? How has music been used to advance imperialist ambitions? How did musical expressions of “national” unity support or undermine the political and social structures of multi-ethnic empires? What impact has musical nationalism had on the social and political contexts in which it emerged? How have identity politics shaped musical creativity? How has music been employed in resistance to social, cultural, national or hierarchical control?

We invite submissions from scholars interested in developing cross-disciplinary approaches to the study of music in human history and culture.

In addition to scholarly discussion and exchange among panelists, the conference will include two keynote speakers: Dr. Richard Taruskin (UC-Berkeley) and Dr. James Loeffler (University of Virginia). A symphonic performance, conducted by Dr. Ricardo Averbach, will be held the evening of March 1, 2013 in Oxford.

We encourage proposals both from young researchers who have completed their dissertation research (ABD) and from established scholars in any field of the humanities or social sciences. As we plan to publish a conference volume based on papers presented, all participants will be required to submit their completed paper one month prior to the conference.

All presenters will be provided with accommodations in Oxford, ground transportation to and from the airport, and partial travel funding (up to $400 for domestic travel, $800 for international travel).

To be considered for the conference, submit an abstract of approximately 300 words and a short CV to by September 1, 2012. Please include “2013 Music and Power Conference” in the subject line. Selected papers will be announced by October 1, 2012.

Inquiries may be directed to:
Dr. Rebecca Mitchell
The Havighurst Center
Harrison Hall Room 116
Miami University
Oxford, Ohio, 45056-2816
(513) 529-0942