We were delighted to host six panelists for our session on Disability Identity in Music Scholarship at AMS/SMT-Denver (Friday, November 10, 2023 - 8:00pm–10:00pm Mountain Time (10 PM Eastern, 9 PM Central, 7 PM Pacific, 3 AM GMT).
In advance of our panel we provided recorded, captioned presentations by our participants, embedded below. We sincerely encourage you to watch those presentations before watching the recording of the panel, at bottom.
During the panel time, our participants provided brief summaries of their presentations, after which we opened to Q&A / conversation between those in attendance. CART captioning was provided, and the live captioning has been corrected in the recording below, which integrates one of the brief summaries that could not be provided at the session itself.
Please don't hesitate to ask questions or comment on the presentations in the blog comments! Comments will be moderated to avoid spam or similar malicious intervention.
All videos below have closed captions. The Kolin video also has open captions.
(This post is available in document form.)
The following is a collection of music and disability-related sessions at the joint meeting of the American Musicological Society and the Society of Music Theory, taking place in Denver, CO from November 9–12, 2023.
Included are sessions directly sponsored by the study group, independently-organized sessions, and sessions from both societies.
We hope to see you there!
Music & Disability Study Group session AMS-SMT 2023
If you would prefer to read this call in a screenreader-accessible PDF, please follow this link.
Goal (What are we doing?)
As we have explored in recent Music & Disability conference sessions, many scholars with disabilities have been excluded from musicology as a discipline. Many disabled musicians are also missing from our research and teaching. However, these “outsiders” have the “inside” perspective on disabled music! What have we lost by pushing disabled musicians and scholars out? What could we gain if we chose to not only include them, but amplify their voices?
We’re going to find out this year.
The Music and Disability Study Group seeks proposals for presentations at our annual session of the upcoming AMS/SMT national meeting(November 9-12, 2023) – either in person in Denver, Colorado or virtually. The topic we’d like our participants to explore is “What does it mean to be disabled in music scholarship?” – or, if you prefer academic jargon, “How does identity contribute to how we approach our positionality in musicology?”
Musicology is a long way from being ready for plain language. This call is not in plain language, even though we are tryingto make it as accessible as possible. However, we are eager to move in that direction. Can you join us in that goal?
The 2022 Annual Meeting in New Orleans is an in-person event, and we are looking forward to being together again. As with every learned society, our membership is strengthened by an ever-widening breadth of life experiences, perspectives, and expertise. We also recognize that many factors may prohibit our colleagues from traveling to New Orleans, despite their deep commitment and indispensable contributions to our disciplines.
In the interest of magnifying the impact of the 2022 Annual Meeting, the Music and Disability Study Group of the AMS, in conjunction with the SEM Deafness and Disability SIG and the SMT Interest Group on Disability and Music, encourages presenters at the Annual Meeting to consider creating an accessible record of their presentations, which they could then make available on request to members who are not attending the 2022 Annual Meeting in person.
We have created a guide to doing so that we hope will easily enable our valued scholars with disabilities, care responsibilities, teaching commitments, or other obstacles to being physically present in New Orleans to share in this vital exchange of knowledge.
USING HANDOUTS FOR ACCESSIBILITY AND SUSTAINABILITY
If you have prepared a handout for your presentation, consider making it electronically available even before the meeting. One option is to use the meeting website and app, which allow you to upload your handout and supporting materials (but NOT videos). Please note the Nov. 7 deadline, and also that your handout will be public on the conference website for six months after the event.
Making your handouts electronically available is recommended because this:
Your handout can include:
SHARING THE SCRIPT OF YOUR PRESENTATION
The simplest way to share your presentation with others is to offer them the script in its written form.
PRE-RECORDING YOUR PRESENTATION
Many of our members will now be very familiar with recording presentations for online events. You do not need to be proficient in video-editing software to do this. There are tutorials available for recording a talk for a wide range of presentation software – Powerpoint, Keynote, Prezi – or it is possible to record yourself with a camera on conferencing/teaching software such as Zoom, Panopto, or Kaltura; so you may choose whether to provide slides with narration, or a video of yourself delivering your paper in person with an option for slides.
USING A LIVE VIDEO
You may prefer to ask someone to video your presentation as you give it at the meeting. If you choose this option, please make sure you have the permission to use any footage of other individuals in the room, whether speaking off camera, or visible in the frame. Louisiana recording laws stipulate that you must have the consent of only one party to record, but again you should be aware of restrictions in general if you are making the video public.
CLOSED CAPTIONING FOR ACCESS
We highly recommend that you add closed captions to your video – this improves its accessibility to both those with hearing impairments and those without. You can do this easily in a variety of ways, by uploading to Microsoft Stream, Facebook, or YouTube (making sure your privacy settings are set appropriately) and using the captioning facilities on these platforms, or taking advantage of the auto-captioning features in conferencing/teaching software such as Panopto, Kaltura, Zoom, Google Meet, and others. The captions will be automatically generated, but you can edit them for accuracy before downloading the final version of the video or, if you choose, sharing it directly on the platform to which you have uploaded it.
MAKING A PRESENTATION VIDEO SHAREABLE
You need to make your own arrangements for hosting your video. We highly recommend that you choose a platform that allows you to restrict viewing: as a private or unlisted video on YouTube; in your own Dropbox or Google Drive space; or online teaching space with guest access.
PERMISSIONS TO USE OTHER PEOPLE'S INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
If you have third-party images and/or music examples in your presentation, please make sure that you understand the copyright status of the materials and have the appropriate permission to use them. There are useful online guides, such as this one from UPenn, and this one from YouTube itself, which cover fair use and give advice on public domain and Creative Commons.
Please note: neither AMS/SMT/SEM or the Music and Disability Studies interest group will accept liability for any copyright or permission infringement.
PROTECTING YOUR OWN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
Sharing material - whether in person, on video, or in print – always carries the risk that someone will see your ideas and unethically decide to present them as their own. As a safeguard, you can track who is accessing your material, and ensure that what you share is clearly marked with a statement of your own copyright. You can gain a layer of protection through watermarking any handouts and making them read-only or “flat” PDFs – these functions are available in many PDF editors.
Google Drive allows you to create a link for your content that will alert you when someone with that link requests access – that way you will know who has seen your material. Again, you can limit the functionality of the file so that it may not be edited or downloaded.
MAKING CONTACT AND REQUESTING ACCESS
If you choose not to put your email address on your handout, members can still use the AMS directory to make contact with presenters. It is most efficient if members ensure that their AMS profile is set to “Email me when new messages arrive” so that both parties are alerted to requests for contact.
Please remember: it is absolutely acceptable to make a request to see a video or read a paper that has been presented. It is also absolutely acceptable to deny that request, if you are not comfortable with sharing or if you have not had time to make your presentation shareable and accessible to the extent that you wish.
Questions / comments / concerns about this initiative…
… can be submitted through this Google Form. Our Study Group may not be able to respond to all queries before the New Orleans MegaCon, but we will endeavor to do so, and we will certainly take all suggestions into account for future iterations of this initiative.
This 2014 post by Blake Howe launched the blog Music and Disability at the AMS and SMT, the predecessor to this site. We'll be posting select essays from that blog along with new material.
Curious about Disability Studies, but unsure what it is? This is a short primer on the subfield, covering some basic principles of Disability Studies especially relevant for musicologists and music theorists. I delivered a shorter version of this talk at the meeting of the Music & Disability Study Group at AMS in Pittsburgh (2013). —Blake Howe
Disability as Culture
One of the central arguments of Disability Studies is that disability, in addition to any physical basis it may have, also operates culturally. We will relegate the study of biological impairment to the medical establishment, but the cultural study of disability is best undertaken by humanists—by literary theorists, historians, and, yes, musicians.
Music scholars have usually pursued this cultural study of disability from two perspectives. Some scholars adopt ethnographic or sociological methodologies, examining the ways in which musicians may have identified as disabled, how disability may have impacted the mechanics of their craft, and how disability may have influenced their reception. For example, Terry Rowden’s book The Songs of Blind Folk (2012) examines cultures of blindness among African-American musicians, while Jeannette Jones and Anabel Maler have recently undertaken studies of song signing, exploring the genre’s negotiation of Deaf identity through music performance. These and other studies seek to understand disability as an important component of identity, akin to gender, sexuality, or race.
Scholars have also considered musical representations of disability, by both disabled and nondisabled composers. Through harmonic imbalance, melodic disfluency, or formal deformations, musical texts may be said to embody various disabled states; indeed, as Joseph N. Straus has shown, many theoretical traditions (including embodiment, energetics, the Formenlehre) commonly apply metaphors of disability to describe musical dysfunction. Supplemental texts, such as song lyrics, opera librettos, and film images, can further specify the presence of a disability within a musical work. These representations of disability tend to follow familiar cultural scripts and archetypes—for instance, the associations between disfigurement and derangement (Rigoletto, Captain Ahab, Darth Vader), between stuttering and feeble-mindedness (Demo in Giasone, Vašek in The Bartered Bride), and between blindness and prophecy (Tiresias in Oedipus rex). Of course, there is no medical basis for these associations; they are entirely cultural.
Models of Disability
The word disability establishes a binary between what one can do (ability) and what one cannot do (dis-ability). Indeed, throughout history disability often emerges as an antithesis to some other desirable standard.