Subject: CONFERENCE CALL: Alternative Histories of Electronic Music
From: John Dack, James Mooney of Leeds University
The call for papers is now open for an international conference on
‚Alternative Histories of Electronic Music‘ (AHEM), to be held at The
Science Museum Research Centre (London) in April 2016.
Invited speakers will include: Sarah Angliss, Georgina Born, Simon
Emmerson, Leigh Landy, Trevor Pinch.
Full details of the call, including submission guidelines and some
suggested thematic areas, are given below, and can also be found online
The deadline for abstract submissions is 31 October 2015.
I would be grateful if you would pass this on to any potentially
interested parties or relevant mailing lists / social media that you can
CALL FOR PAPERS: ALTERNATIVE HISTORIES OF ELECTRONIC MUSIC (AHEM)
The story of the genesis and development of electronic/electroacoustic
music is often told in the same familiar way. Experiments in musique
concrète in Paris and elektronische Musik in Cologne played a central
role in European developments, while activities in New York such as
those of the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, John Cage and
his Music for Tape-Recorders group, and Louis and Bebe Barron are
frequently proffered as the most prominent American contributions. These
activities were significant, of course; but they were not the only
progenitors of modern-day electronic music. There are many, many other
ways in which the story of electronic music’s history and development
could be told.
For example… What does electronic music look like if we focus on the
contributions of individuals whose work is less widely known; less
widely recognised? What happens if we step away from the Western
European and North American institutions that are normally figured as
central to the genesis and development of electronic music? Or, what
happens if we question, or explore the mechanisms of, their authority?
What happens if we change our object(s) of study; if we look at
artefacts and objects rather than composers and works, for instance? Are
there tools, techniques, instruments that played an important role in
shaping electronic music that remain under-recognised or misunderstood?
What about when we listen to the marginalised voices; what versions of
electronic music’s history do they tell? Or, what happens if we change
our methods of study, so as to highlight aspects that hitherto went
unnoticed, such as underlying social, political, or economic dimensions?
How does current music draw on the origins of the form?
This conference is being staged as part of an AHRC-funded project
exploring the work of the English musician and musicologist Hugh Davies
(1943-2005). In the late 1960s, Davies produced a comprehensive
inventory of electronic music compositions, entitled International
Electronic Music Catalog (1968), in which he documented the output of
560 studios in 39 countries. This challenged the hegemony of the Paris,
Cologne, and New York schools, whose activities dominated the literature
of the 1950s and 60s. As such, Davies provided what was perhaps the
first alternative version of electronic music’s history. While this
conference is not directly ‘about’ Hugh Davies, then, it does explore
some of the broader issues raised by his work.
There are many ways in which an ‘alternative’ history could be framed.
The purpose of this conference is to explore all possibilities; to focus
upon different ways of telling the story of electronic music; to explore
its alternative histories.
Call for Papers
We seek proposals for papers/presentations that fall under the rubric of
‘alternative histories of electronic music’, as sketched out above. We
welcome submissions that focus on any one or combination of the
following (note that these are suggestive rather than prescriptive):
·Pathways from electronic music’s past to electronic music’s present
that are ‘a little bit different’ from what one might expect.
·Individuals, institutions, inventions, or perspectives that have been
neglected or under-represented up to now.
·Alternative methodological and/or theoretical perspectives; studies
that encourage us to look at the history of electronic music in a
·Ethnographic, anthropological, and/or interdisciplinary approaches;
implementation of methods native to science and technology studies
(STS); other methodological approaches that are apt to reveal
·Alternative narratives; studies that compel us to attend to, or listen
to, different things as we navigate electronic music’s history.
·Marginalised voices; stories of electronic music’s history and
development that have been sidelined, for whatever reasons.
·Non-Western European, Non-North American developments, and/or
activities that happened outside those typically considered in
electronic music histories.
·Unconventional or DIY approaches; work that has flouted the norms and
expectations of its epoch.
·Developments that have shaped or changed the direction of electronic
music, but which remain as yet under- or un-recognised.
·Notions of genre/style/idiom as a lens for alternative histories.
·Studies that might be thought of as continuing the work that Hugh
Davies started with his International Electronic Music Catalog, for
example by focusing on the electronic music of under-represented nations.
·Tools, techniques, instruments (etc.) that played an important role in
shaping electronic music, but which remain under-recognised or
·Interrogating the (perhaps invisible) driving forces behind
institutions of cultural production, so as to reveal why certain models
of electronic music dominate, or appear to dominate.
·Historic perspectives on relationships between electronic music and
other musical/cultural practices.
·We are interested in how electronic music came to be the way it
currently is; and in the developments and perceptions that have shaped
this. Proposals are therefore likely to incorporate a strong historical
element, either focusing directly upon historic developments, and/or
framing the current state of affairs in the light of historic
perspectives. (Proposals from individuals to discuss their own creative
work are discouraged unless they provide strong insights in the above
Submissions are welcomed from all disciplines, but particularly from
electroacoustic music studies, science and technology studies,
history/philosophy of science/technology, and sound studies.
Please submit an abstract of approximately 500 words, plus brief
biographies of approximately 100 words for each author, using the
template provided, by email to ahem(at)leeds(dot)ac(dot)uk .
The template can be downloaded here in MS
Word and RTF (Rich Text Format).
Call for papers: 7 July 2015
Deadline for abstracts: 31 October 2015
Notification of results: 1 December 2015
Conference: 15-16 April 2016
There are plans for a thematic issue of /Organised Sound/
separate call for submission will be released in due course. Conference
delegates interested in publication are encouraged to conceive of their
conference papers/presentations such that they could be developed into
full-length journal articles (c. 6-7000 words); a deadline for
submission of articles for peer review is provisionally anticipated
around 5 months after the conference (September 2016).
Contacts and Other Information
For any enquiries please contact ahem(at)leeds(dot)ac(dot)uk
This conference is being staged as part of an Arts and Humanities
Research Council funded project led by Dr James Mooney, School of Music,
University of Leeds, in partnership with Dr Tim Boon, Head of Research
and Public History, The Science Museum.
Dr James Mooney
Lecturer in Music Technology
Principal Investigator, Hugh Davies Project
School of Music, University of Leeds
CONFERENCE: ‘Alternative Histories of Electronic Music’
Deadline for abstracts: 31 October 2015
Conference: 15-16 April 2016, Science Museum, London