47th Annual Conference
The Society for American Music invites proposals for (a) individual papers, (b) organized panels of 2–4 papers, (c) lecture-recitals, (d) alternative-format sessions, (e) scholarly posters, and (f) interest groups for its 47th Annual Conference in Tacoma,
Washington, to be held March 17–21, 2021. All proposals must be submitted via the SAM website by 11:59 pm PDT on 1 July 2020. We welcome proposals involving all facets of musical life throughout the Americas and about American music and aspects of
its cultures anywhere in the world.
To celebrate the musical heritage of the conference site, we solicit proposals that emphasize any aspect of music and musical cultures (especially Indigenous and ethnic traditions) in Tacoma and the surrounding region during any part of its history. Topics
might include musicking associated with Native Americans or connected to the large populations of immigrants who worked on railroads, steamship companies, and farms in Washington State since the 19th century. Members are also encouraged to submit
proposals relating to the career of SAM's 2021 honorary member, Carrie Brownstein, as well as riot grrrl and grunge topics; explorations of DIY and production as a specific practice/praxis of musicking and/or musicality; music mobility along the Pacific
Coast; and other musicians associated with the Pacific Northwest, such as Bing Crosby, Quincy Jones, William Bolcom, Jimi Hendrix, Robert Cray, and Neko Case.
The Conference Team and Board will be monitoring the situation in regards to the Coronavirus Pandemic and notifying the membership if this impacts our plans for the Tacoma conference.
A. Individual Papers
Each presentation lasts twenty minutes, followed by ten minutes of discussion. Paper sessions will be assembled by the Program Committee after the selection of abstracts and may consist of two to four presentations.
NB: The website submission process enables you to select whether you wish to have your submission considered as a paper, as a research poster (see E below), or as a presentation in either format.
B. Panels of Papers
Groups of two to four presenters may propose a panel consisting of two, three, or four presentations of 20 minutes each. Panels will be accepted or rejected in total; the Program Committee will not break up panels in order to accept individual papers.
Please note that panels may include performance elements. Panels that include a performance element must include in the body of the individual performance/panel proposal a link to an online audio or video file that is representative of the proposed content,
as well as a list of any special requirements (e.g., piano, music stand). The chair of the group panel is responsible for submitting:
- A proposal for the panel as a whole;
- Individual proposals for each presenter/performer on the panel. Chairs are advised to gather all necessary contact information from individual presenters before website submission (see "General Guidelines" below).
Proposals for lecture-recitals of music from the Americas are welcome. These recitals may range in length from thirty to forty-five minutes and should offer an appropriate balance of lecture and performance elements. Various constraints limit the number
of lecture-recitals that may be programmed each year. Applicants should specify the length in their abstracts. Applicants must also include in the body of the proposal a link to an online audio or video file that is representative of the proposed
recital content, as well as a list of any special requirements (e.g., piano, music stand, space for dance demonstration).
D. Special-format sessions
Groups of scholars may propose sessions in formats other than formal paper presentations. These may include, for example, sessions with papers circulated in advance of the meeting; moderated panel discussions; workshops on career-related or pedagogical
topics; or exploration of topics or issues currently in the news that have connections to the work of the society.
Special-format session proposals must specify the length of time requested (60 minutes, 90 minutes, or 120 minutes) and provide a rationale for this request. Special-format session proposals may put forward up to four panel participants.
Participating in a special-format session as a presenter constitutes the same level of participation in an academic conference as a traditional paper. For this reason, those submitting abstracts toward a special-format session cannot also submit proposals
for individual papers or papers within a panel.
Workshops (120 min.): Workshops should directly engage attendees in discussion of a defined topic or theme. Ideal workshop proposals will speak to a range of audiences expertise, and clearly demonstrate the ways in which attendees will
be involved as active participants. At the session itself, each presenter will have ten minutes to give an introductory statement. The rest of the time should be devoted to interactive dialogue and/or exchange. The bulk of the two hours allocated
for the workshop should be devoted to breakouts that provide hands-on engagement and opportunities for participants to ask questions and brainstorm ideas with colleagues.
Groups of 4–6 presenters may propose a workshop. Workshops will be accepted or rejected in total. The chair of the workshop group is responsible for submitting:
- A proposal for the workshop as a whole, which should establish the relevance of the topic to the SAM membership and clearly identify the ways in which attendees will be involved as active participants.
- Individual proposals for each workshop presenter, which detail the topics they will cover and their plans for actively engaging attendees in discussion.
- All necessary contact information from individual presenters (see "General Guidelines" below).
Seminars (90 min.): The seminar-format session is devoted to a moderated discussion of a set of written papers submitted in advance and posted on the SAM website two weeks before the conference. These papers should relate to current issues
in the field, recent hot-button issues, important but neglected areas of study, or new fields of research. If a seminar panel is accepted, the papers are posted prior to the conference on the SAM website and are read by attendees before the meeting.
At the seminars themselves, authors present 5-minute summaries of their papers; the rest of the 90-minute session is devoted to discussion. Please note that seminar panels are now submitted at the same time as paper proposals. The proposal should
contain summaries of each participant's contribution (see below).
E. Research Poster Sessions
The poster format provides an opportunity for SAM members to meet informally with scholars and discuss their research. Scholars attend their respective 90-minute session, distribute abstracts, and answer questions. Electric power will not be available;
therefore, sound or video examples will require a personal computer utilizing battery, ideally with headphones available. Poster sessions are not moderated. NB: The website submission process enables you to select whether you wish to have your submission
considered as a paper (see A above), as a research poster, or as a presentation in either format.
F. Interest Groups (IGs)
Interest Groups meet at the SAM conference on a predetermined rotation schedule overseen by the Board of Directors. IGs must submit proposals through the SAM website by the July 1 deadline. Groups with a guaranteed slot for 2021 will be included in the
program as long as they submit a brief description of their plans by the deadline. IG sessions may not mirror conventional panels featuring a set of twenty-minute papers; instead, IG proposals should pursue alternate formats including, but not limited
to, roundtable discussions, sessions combining performance and scholarship, sessions discussing a significant publication, or sessions centered on a key debate. Alternatively, IGs may submit proposals for a panel (see the instructions in B above),
but acceptance or rejection will be at the discretion of the Program Committee and IGs will not have priority above other panel submissions. IG conference meeting dates are given here.
In order to have a proposal considered for any of these formats, the proposer must either be a member of the Society for American Music OR join SAM as a Guest Member and pay a nonrefundable $25 processing fee. If a Guest Member’s proposal is accepted,
that person must immediately join the Society; the $25 will be applied toward membership.
The committee particularly encourages proposals from those who did not present at the prior year's meeting. An individual may submit only one proposal. All proposals must be submitted through the online electronic submission process on this website.
The submission form on the SAM website will ask for the following information:
- Proposer's name, e-mail address, institutional affiliation or city of residence, affirmation of SAM membership or payment of $25 fee, and current status (student, faculty member, librarian, independent scholar, etc.). Only the chair of the Program
Committee will see this information and it will in no way affect the selection process. (Proposers are asked for their "status" only for statistical purposes. This information will not be used by the Program Committee as a criterion for acceptance.
Students accepted for presentations, however, may be notified of their eligibility for Student Travel Grants and the Mark Tucker Award.)
- A 250-word proposal. This document is the only one viewed by the Program Committee during the selection process. Applicants should not include in the abstract body any information that identifies themselves (such as "I have just published a book on
this subject"). An exception is made with regards to lecture-recital proposals, which must include links to audio or video files that might reveal the proposer's identity. Successful proposals typically articulate the author's major arguments
and research findings, positioning them with respect to earlier work and describing their importance to scholarship in American music.
- A 100-word abstract of the proposal suitable for publication in the conference program if the proposal is accepted (.doc, .docx, .txt, or .rtf format). This document includes the proposer's name and email, as well as the title of the presentation.
Program Committee members will not see this document prior to the selection process.
- A list of keywords for individual paper proposals to aid the Program Committee in forming paper sessions.
All materials must be submitted via the SAM website by 11:59 pm PDT on 1 July 2020. Questions about the submission process may be addressed to the Program Chair.
Proposers will be informed of the decisions of the Program Committee in late August. Upon acceptance, presenters are required to confirm within one week their commitment to present and to join SAM. The Program Committee Chair is unable to provide feedback
on proposals that were not accepted.
All presenters are required to register for the entire conference. In the event of a last- minute emergency, registered presenters are expected to arrange for another attendee to read their papers; likewise, organizers of special-format sessions should
seek to replace the missing participant. Presenter cancellation after 1 October 2020 without arrangement for alternative presentation will result in the loss of the conference slot.
Chair, Nancy Yunhwa Rao