Music, Knowledge, and Global Migration, ca. 1700−1900

Apr 14, 2024 - Apr 16, 2024

Symposium at the University of California, Berkeley | Conveners: Tina Frühauf (Columbia University/The CUNY Graduate Center, New York), Simone Lässig (German Historical Institute Washington), and Francesco Spagnolo (The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, UC Berkeley)

Call for Papers

The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were a critical period for migration, seeing an acceleration that peaked at the turn of the twentieth century. These two hundred years also saw a change in the profile of migrants, from the initial colonists or settlers driven by population growth, economic changes, political instability, war, and freedom of religion to those first and foremost fleeing persecution. Among the migrants were musicians, scholars, ethnographers, writers, and intellectuals who brought with them knowledge about music. This conference seeks to map a specific concept within this distinct time period: how music functions as a vehicle to carry and develop knowledge in migration, and how migration affects knowledge about and understanding of music on a global scale. Sources can include a variety of “musical objects,” including music scores, musical instruments, and records of music performances, as well as encyclopedias, scholarly literature, popular literature, travelogues, letters, translations, and more. As such the conference focuses on the global migration of knowledge through texts and people.

We are inviting scholars from all disciplines, whose work engages with music in both specific and broad ways, to contribute historiographical or ethnographical case studies and/or theoretical and methodological contributions that explore questions like the following:

  • How do music and knowledge correlate in specific migratory contexts?
  • What knowledge remains relevant for migrants and diasporic communities, and how is this articulated in music production (composition and performance) as well as within discourses about music?
  • How do the knowledge and practice of music reflect belonging?
  • How can the knowledge of music contest essentialist discourses of integration and assimilation?
  • What is the impact of the knowledge of music on the transmission and performance of music?
  • What role do place, class, sex, and ability play in the context of migration, music, and knowledge?
  • How do different media of transmission affect the dissemination of knowledge in migratory contexts?

We welcome proposals for papers and other types of presentations that engage with the conference theme. Individual paper presentations must be kept to 30 minutes (15-minute presentations, followed by 15-minute discussions).

Please submit a proposal through our online application portal before 1 October 2023. Proposals for whole panels are welcome. Accommodations will be arranged and paid for by the organizers. Subsidies for travel are available upon request for selected scholars, especially those who might not be able to attend the workshop otherwise, including junior scholars, and scholars from universities with limited resources. 

The conference will be held in English.