Information About the Seminar Format

Unlike regular SAM sessions, in which papers are read, papers for the conference seminars will be posted at a password-protected location in advance of the conference, where they may be read by all registered conference participants. The bulk of each seminar session will be devoted to discussion of the papers as they relate to the general seminar theme. Since papers will be posted electronically on the web, we would like to encourage materials that are recently published or "in press" as one kind of submission that would be appropriate for the seminar structure. These papers may be full articles, up to 20 pages, and should include notes, examples (where relevant), and bibliography.

44th Annual Conference (Kansas City, 2018)

Seminar Topic: Music and American Cultural Memory
Lin Manuel Miranda’s Alexander Hamilton raps about revolution, Civil War reenactors jubilantly sing “Dixie,” and Patti Smith envisions the dreams of Amerigo Vespucci and Christopher Columbus on a punk rock album. In these moments, people use music to evoke a version of the past, thereby constructing and reflecting cultural memory. The discrepancies between past events and how they survive, change, and are used in our culture have sparked interest from scholars across disciplines who take an approach known as memory studies. Music has immense signifying potential, and its inherent temporality, abstract nature, and emotional presence encourage performers and audiences to spend time contemplating and feeling into the past. However, scholarship addressing music calls for an esoteric set of tools, so most memory studies efforts have neglected music as a vessel of memory. This seminar will elevate music to its rightful position as a site of memory and open doors to a richer understanding of how societies remember their pasts. We encourage papers addressing music of any genre in relation to such topics as memorialization, commemoration, monumentality, nostalgia, heritage, the interaction of past and present, the processes of remembering and forgetting, as well as aspects of music and cultural memory, broadly defined.

Seminar Chairs:
Elissa Harbert, DePauw University
Thomas J. Kernan, Roosevelt University

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