CFP: Hatred and/of Music

What might it mean to hate music, or for music to be a site of hatred? What is hate, such that it can affect, or be affected by, music?

The Music and Philosophy Study Group invites submissions for fifteen-minute papers on the topic of “Hatred and/of Music.” Longstanding traditions of musical thought and practice have associated music with feelings and affects. But what is the place of hate among these feelings, and how has music’s relationship with hatred been theorized historically? To what extent has our ethical aversion towards hatred in society produced a bias against a better understanding of how music can be linked to hatred? In recent years, many humanities disciplines have raised productive critiques of their objects of study framed in terms of hatred, or related feelings of disgust, contempt and anger. These critiques can take on added significance within music studies in light of recent challenges to the disciplinary habits that have limited or defined the field’s proper object of study.

If scholarship sometimes uses powerful language to perform a kind of love for the music it studies, can this kind of love bring with it the risk of subsuming any sounding practice under the label of “music,” thus reproducing forms of sonic colonization via claims of emotional or intellectual ownership? And if there is a risk to this love, what might be the place of hate in the delineation of disciplinary objects? Attempts to discipline music’s elastic borders can also join up with affective responses to music that are rarely discussed, as when listening to particular music leads to feelings of genuine disgust or hatred—or feeling nothing at all, as in musical anhedonia. Given that many musicologists pride themselves on loving music, and given how that emotion can be rewarded, celebrated, and considered reason enough to enter the discipline, we ask panelists to reflect on potential hatred(s) towards music as sounding practice and as disciplinary object.

Proposals should be of approximately 250 words; imaginative approaches to the topic are encouraged. Please submit an anonymous PDF of your abstract to mpsg2020.ams -at- Make sure to provide your name, the proposed title of your talk and a brief bio of 50 words in your email. The deadline for applications is March 12, 2020, 11:59pm PST. Applications by independent scholars, underfunded scholars, and scholars of underrepresented identities are especially encouraged.

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