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Music Theory Online (MTO) – Call for Submissions on Feminist Music Theory

Call for submissions: Music Theory Online seeks new research for a special half-issue or issue on feminist music theory. Authors are invited to submit articles of approximately 8,000-12,000 words on the topics listed below by March 15, 2016. Submissions will undergo the journal’s standard blind-review process.

Potential topics are:
(1) feminist critiques of music theory, its methodologies, and/or terminology (either contemporary or historical)
(2) new feminist methodologies for analysis, or expansions or alterations of previous ones
(3) feminist analyses or reinterpretations of works using existing paradigms

Some examples of the kind of scholarship we seek are (this is not a comprehensive list):
– Suzanne Cusick, “Feminist Theory, Music Theory, and the Mind/Body Problem,” Perspectives of New Music 32/1 (1994)
– Marion Guck, “A Woman’s (Theoretical) Work,” Perspectives of New Music 32/1 (1994)
– Marianne Kielian-Gilbert, “Of Poetics and Poiesis, Pleasure and Politics-Music Theory and Modes of the Feminine,” Perspectives of New Music 32/1 (1994)
– Fred Maus, “Masculine Discourse in Music Theory,” Perspectives of New Music 31/2 (1993)

More generally, we publish work that makes a new contribution to scholarship on music theory and/or analysis, situates its contribution within the current published research on the topic, and is well organized and clearly written. We encourage authors to take advantage of our multimedia capabilities to include audio, color graphics, animation, video, and hyperlinks.

Articles may be submitted via email to mto-editor[at]societymusictheory.org.Please consult our submission guidelines athttp://www.mtosmt.org/docs/authors.html. Music Theory Online is the refereed open-access electronic journal of the Society for Music Theory.

Nicole Biamonte
Editor, Music Theory Online
http://www.mtosmt.org

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LP’s Last Post: Reflections on the CSW 2012-15

One day in July 2012, I received an invitation from Harald Krebs, then-SMT president, to take over from Patrica Hall as chair of the CSW. The timing could not have been worse: three days earlier, I’d hit a low point in my career and believed (mistakenly, as it turned out) that my days as an employed music theorist were over. So I told Harald that I didn’t think it made sense for the Society to give me a leadership role. His response was a model of simple Krebsian grace and kindness: “I don’t see why that should be a problem.” And so began three years of working with a host of wonderful people both on the CSW itself, across the entire Society, and beyond.

This period of the CSW has been something of a roller coaster, from the lows of the smt-talk debacle sparked by sexist music theory terminology in April/May 2013 to highs like our leadership of the opening plenary session at this summer’s SMA conference, an international panel entitled “Mind the Gap: Women in the Field of Music Analysis.” But roller coasters always end back down where they began, and this is definitely not the case for the CSW in 2015. For example, I note from one of my first e-mails to Harald that the CSW Facebook group had 115 members but was virtually silent; if someone posted a question or a link to spark conversation, often there were no replies. Today, it has more than doubled in size to 264 and is an active site for discussion, announcements, and sometimes wicked wit!

But our online presence expanded even more with the launch of this blog, thanks to the excellent work of CSW grad student representative Stefanie Acevedo. The home to many resources including our mentoring programs and “Share Your Stories” page, it’s now had over 4,000 views not only from the US and Canada, but the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Australia, Finland, Austria, India, Italy, Singapore, Brazil, Hong Kong, Sweden, Spain, Japan, Belgium, Colombia, Turkey, Indonesia, Bulgaria, Micronesia, South Africa, Switzerland, Norway, Pakistan, Mexico, Costa Rica, Romania, Russia, Nigeria, Belize, Poland, and the Netherlands. Phew!

Our mentoring programs have tripled since 2012, when we only offered the proposal mentoring program that had been launched in the early 2000s. Now under the energetic leadership of Inessa Bazayev and most recently Rachel Lumsden, we also offer an Article Mentoring Program to boost women’s chances of publication success. And last year we added our Situational Mentoring Program, allowing all SMT members regardless of gender the opportunity to contact directly with the mentor of their choice to chat about gender-related career issues, anonymously if they wish.

“Share Your Stories” also allows all SMT members to anonymously share experiences related to women in the field of music theory. As more people contribute, we hope this will provide members or other interested individuals with a sense of the day-to-day issues still facing women in the field, as well as the rewards of a career in a vibrant field that is increasingly open to fresh perspectives. (Send in your story today!)

Finally, in response to continued reports of inappropriate questions to our members—male and female—during music theory position interviews, we’ve revived the process of sending out reminders to search committees. But in keeping with the intersectionality of these questions, we invited the Accessibility, Diversity, and Professional Development Committees as well as the Queer Resource Group to collaborate on a revision of this letter and to co-sponsor it from now on.

Throughout these past three years, the guiding words of the CSW throughout even the worst of times have been “constructive” and “solutions-focused.” In part through our efforts but also those of many others in the Society, women now represent 32% of the SMT membership, the highest annual result in its history, and while we still tend to under-submit research articles to our journals relative to that percentage, last year the numbers of submissions from women to MTO and MTS nearly doubled. Women also now represent 50% of SMT’s Executive Board and official committees, ensuring that we have a strong voice in its future directions.

Much remains to be done; just read a few of the shared stories on our blog if you need more convincing. But our meetings this past week at SMT St. Louis, led in part by incoming chair Jennifer Bain, generated some exciting new project ideas and I know the CSW will continue to play a positive, dynamic, and inspiring role in the Society.

In closing, thanks to all of my past committee members—Stefanie Acevedo, Sara Bakker, Inessa Bazayev, Jane Piper Clendinning, Eileen Hayes, Ted Latham, Wendy Lee, Charity Lofthouse, Rachel Lumsden, Brad Osborn, and Abby Shupe—for all your contributions. What a dynamic group of people I’ve been privileged to work with! Presidents Harald Krebs and Poundie Burstein, Vice-President Michael Buchler, Publications Committee chair Matthew Shaftel, and many, many others have also helped make this past three years terrifically rewarding. Finally, thanks to all of you for your insights, participation, and friendship.

That’s it for me—bye all. Now, over to Jennifer!

Sincerely,

Laurel Parsons

All-Male Panels at SMT 2015

Share Your Stories” (“SYS”) is a place where readers can submit stories of their own experiences with the assurance that readers won’t be able to comment on those experiences. That’s the rule, and it’s not going to change. However, the other day a male theorist wrote in asking for advice on how to respond to an invitation to chair an all-male panel at the upcoming SMT conference. His question prompted my last entry about how to post a question, because I realized looking over the blog that we hadn’t yet set up an obvious way for people to do that if they’re asking something relatively simple that might be of interest to a lot of readers, and they actually want to get an answer or start a conversation about it. Now that I’ve set up a contact page where you can send in your questions or blog post ideas, I want to address the question he’s raised. From now on, please send questions of this kind via our “Contact Us” page rather than SYS.


(Please go here to see the original Shared Story post.) So let’s get to the question of all-male panels. If a male theorist wants to support the increased presence of women on SMT sessions, what’s the best way of responding to a request for him to chair an all-male panel? (If you’re new to this issue, see the link at the bottom of the page to a good article in the Guardian a couple of years ago.) Personally, here’s my take on it, considering only the upcoming SMT conference in St. Louis — not conferences in general.

I would say that it depends on who’s organizing the session: has the Program Committee put it together from all the year’s accepted proposals, or is it an invited or volunteer panel set up independently by one of the interest groups? If it’s the Program Committee (“PC”), logistically it may be difficult if not impossible to ensure there is a woman presenting a paper at each and every regular session. This year, I’m told women submitted only about 25% of proposals to SMT (we’re still waiting for data on the acceptance rate, but in recent years it’s tended to match the submission rate). Moreover, there may have been no women at all submitting papers on a particular topic (or no men on another).

The PC — which itself has a much greater representation of women at 50% than the SMT as a whole — has more control over gender balance among session chairs. This year’s PC Chair, Joti Rockwell, has told me that so far women represent about 40% of St. Louis chairs (they won’t have final numbers until all invitations have been issued and responded to), well over their rate of membership in the Society. (He also noted that invitations to male chairs may well have been proposed by women in the first place, given the gender balance within the PC.)

Given all these constraints, and how close we are now to the conference, declining the invitation to a session organized by the PC because there are no women on that particular panel would almost certainly make no difference in the gender balance among the speakers. I would recommend asking why there are no women on the panel, and depending on how you feel about their answer, either accepting it having at least raised the issue, or declining it while also assisting the PC by recommending one or two women whom they might invite instead.

But what if the session is organized by one of the Society’s interest groups, where sessions may be organized more casually, either by invitation or by people volunteering to speak rather than blind review of proposals in answer to a CFP? I think wherever it’s possible in the remaining time between now and the conference, challenging the organizers to improve the gender balance on their panel is the way to go, whether that means suggesting additional women speakers, or declining to chair and recommending one or two women whom they could invite. Others may have different suggestions on how to approach this, and please note that these are my personal opinions and not necessarily those of the CSW — I’ll let individual members offer their own thoughts if they wish. Thanks to our reader for bringing this important issue up for discussion! Laurel Parsons, CSW Chair http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/06/four-steps-to-put-an-end-to-all-male-panels-at-conferences