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Call for Papers: 6th Symposium of the Study Group on Musics of East Asia

Friday, October 20, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Stephanie Sturgis
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Dates: Tuesday August 21-Thursday August 23 2018

Venue: National Gugak Center, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Organized and hosted by the Korean Musicological Society and the National Gugak Center


Performing Arts and Social Transitions in East Asia

2016 marked the 10th anniversary of the Musics of East Asia Study Group of ICTM. Returning to Taipei for this momentous occasion, we were able to reflect on ten years of the Group’s activities. It was a time of reflecting on who we are, what we’ve contributed, and where we hope to go as a collective of scholars of East Asian Music.

In 2018, we hope to build on the reflections of last year’s meeting to discuss the ways by which music and dance have played a role in social transitions in East Asia. More than any region in the world, East Asia has endured and been a leader in many social transformations that have altered the Asia-Pacific region and contributed immensely to global social, political, economic and cultural developments. The field of performing arts, from the more local traditional to popular genres, has been entangled in these developments, at times accompaniment to human action and at others the nucleus of articulations of contemporary identity and social achievement. The approach to ‘social transitions’ remains broad and encompasses everything from changes in performance practice over time to an expressive and sonic topography reinforcing socio-political revolutions, from cross-border music exchange coinciding with new paradigms of international relations to creative interpretations of ‘tradition’ in the 21st century.

Some of the questions considered here include:

--How have changing sociopolitical, economic infrastructures in East Asia led to alternative considerations of local music traditions? Alternatively, how have performing artists and composers used their artistry to respond to shifting societal infrastructures? In addition, how have changing sociopolitical and economic infrastructures alienated performance traditions?

--How can we as scholars conceptualize the effect of music on populations in East Asia? In other words, how can we develop new ideas, new theories regarding the importance of music in affecting social change? The latter, in particular, is concerned with the role of music in reinforcing new paradigms which lead to wide-scale social change.

--How have the intangible heritage systems played a role in music’s positioning in everyday life in East Asia? How can we as scholars consider paradigms of preservation as we also study the changes inherent to musical forms over time? How can we reconcile the need to reinforce music’s role as an icon of identity with the reality of music’s changing roles?

--What role does music play in political protest? Beyond lyric analysis, what are some new, creative methodologies applicable to the study of the power of musical sound during times of social unrest?

--Where does the concept of ‘world music’ fit into local and regional musical expressivities and categories? In what ways has the world music market influenced the ways by which the music industry works in East Asia, and how have current trends in the world music market inspired new music trends in local music scenes and markets?



1) Institutionalization of Traditional Music:

As countries of East Asia have engaged in the project of modernization, performing arts (including music of local folk and court heritage, European classical and popular music forms, as well as traditional and modern forms of dance) have been integral to the institutionalization of cultural norms and paradigms regarding the identity of the nation. From intangible heritage systems to ever-changing cultural policies, this theme encourages scholars to dig deeply into the significance of music and dance in institutions at all levels.

2) Creative Adaptations:

Part of social transitions in East Asia has been the development of new creative ways in expressing ever-developing aesthetics. Human migration, study abroad, trends shared through social media, etc., have profoundly influenced interpretations of the performing arts.

3) Performance and Political Protest:

Performance has played a central role in voicing discontent and giving voice to disenfranchised communities. Music and dance have remained central to protest as an effective ways to mobilize and incite change. Socio-political developments in East Asia reveal a great diversification of sites for expressing dissent, such as the Internet and social networking sites. This theme particularly encourages a look at the ways by which performance has been harnessed in voicing the perspective of the socially, economically and politically disenfranchised.

4) Performance and Trauma:

Music’s role in healing has been widely recognized by many ethnomusicologists. With this theme, we encourage people to consider research on music and dance as a means for individual and societal catharsis through which trauma can be articulated as a part of the process of healing.

5) Ecological Habitus of Music and Dance:

Little research has been done on the connection between music and the environment in East Asia. We hope this theme will encourage new research on the connection the performing arts have with the local environments in which they are formed. In addition, we encourage perspectives that examine the role of performing arts in awareness of issues such as environmental protection and sustainable practices.

6) Multiple Modernities:

‘Modernity’ remains a complex subject, and one that has been explored often in research on East Asian music and dance. With this theme, we encourage presentations which grapple with the many-layered complexities of ‘modernity’ in the East Asian context and the ways by which these are articulated via performance.

7) Performance Boundaries:

What are the local paradigms that determine the boundaries of genre? In what ways do rhetoric and narrative of performance activities reinforce these boundaries? On the other hand, how does performance play a role in overcoming boundaries? With the latter, in particular, we especially welcome papers which consider issues such as disability, social status, local prejudice regarding reputation of genre, preservation systems, and education curricula, but remain open to other perspectives which consider performance boundaries.

8) Transnational Networking: 

 Contrary to popular assumptions, global and cultural flows often work to regenerate and rearticulate territories rather than annihilate them. With this theme, we consider the flow of music across national and cultural borders as significant in reinforcing and reconstituting fluctuating transnational identities. Music and dance mirror the concord and ruptures of social life, yet also constitute ideas which frame our realities.

9) Changing Soundscapes: With this theme, we encourage considerations of the changing sonic expressivities of the world around us in the East Asian context. In part, this is a reflection of social transitions, but also of new performance influenced by global flows, mass media and altered lifestyles in the 21st century.

10) New Research:

We encourage the submission of scholarly work that helps broaden our imagination of the main theme and musics of East Asia.

LANGUAGE English is the official language of this symposium.


PRESENTATION FORMATS Proposals are invited in the following formats:


1. Individual paper:

20 minutes long and followed by 10 minutes for discussion; a 20-minute paper is about 8 or 9 typewritten pages, double-spaced using 12-point font.


 2. Organized panel: these may be presented in ONE the following formats:

    - 120 minutes long, 4 presenters

    - 120 minutes long, 3 presenters and a discussant

   (each presentation is 20 minutes with 10 minutes for initial discussion; there will be 30 minutes for summary).

     - Forum/Roundtable, 120 minutes long with up to 6 presenters on a given topic, entirely organized and run by a given Chair of the Roundtable, with discussion among the presenters and the audience


3. Workshop: informal, interactive hands-on session on one topic for a maximum of two hours, completely run by the workshop organizer.


4. Film/DVD: recently completed or in-progress films, video programs or excerpts thereof, each presentation about 20 minutes in length including some discussion on the film/dvd


5. ‘TEDxstyle Lightning Papers of 10-minutes in length, featuring no more than 20 slides, with 5 minutes for Questions/ Answers.


6. Poster Presentation is the presentation of research information by an individual or representatives of research teams from ICTM-MEA. The poster presentation should be presented for 3 x 4 feet paper mounting.



Please submit an abstract for a paper presentation in one of the above listed formats (300 words max), along with a very short biographical note (50 words or less) about the presenter. Organizers of panels and roundtables must submit a statement on the focus and central concern of the panel/ roundtable along with an abstract from each presenter on his/her presentation (each abstract is limited to 300 words and biographical notes are strictly limited to 50 words). Please note that you can only make ONE type of format submission for the conference.


Deadline: January 20, 2018


Submit Abstracts to: mea2018abstracts@gmail.com


All proposals must be submitted in English

All proposals will undergo an anonymised peer review, and the decision on proposals will be announced in the first week of March 2018.


You should receive an email within 7 days of your submission. If you have failed to receive a response, please contact the Chair of the Programme Committee, Hilary Finchum-Sung [finchumsung@snu.ac.kr]



All presenters must register as a member of the International Council of Traditional Music directly with the ICTM Secretariat before attending the Study Group Symposium. The email contact is: secretariat@ictmusic.org. Students will have a special registration fee for both ICTM as well as the conference. All registration fees and other information will be forthcoming from the Local Arrangements Committee.


The Local Committee for 2017 MEA is:

KIM Hee-Sun (Co-chair)

KIM Woo-jin (Co-chair)

LEE Yong-shik



The Program Committee for 2017 MEA is:

FINCHUM-SUNG Hilary (Chair)

HSU Hsin Wen


LEE Tong Soon

OSHIO Satomi

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