Confirmed keynotes from
- Felipe Ledesma-Núñez (Harvard University)
- Jan-Friedrich Missfelder (Universität Basel)
- Lucía Martinez Valdivia (Reed College)
Call for Papers
The experience of lived religion in the early modern world was, as it is now, profoundly auditory. The prophet Mohammed attached great importance to the power of the human voice, and the adhan, the Islamic call to prayer, sounds out five times a day from the minarets of every mosque in the world. For Christians, Romans 10:14, asks: ‘how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?’ and in Judaism the rise of Kabbalah from the sixteenth century, for example, saw a renewed emphasis on singing as a means of elevating the spirit to the celestial. Sound and music were no less essential to indigenous religions, and colonisers and missionaries regularly described the mesmerising effect of their acoustic encounters. As Jean de Léry famously recalled, after witnessing the ritual practices of the Tupinamba in the Bay of Rio in 1557:
I was not only ravished out of my selfe: but also now, as often as I remember the tunable agreement of many voices, both my minde rejoyceth, also mine eares seeme continually to ring therewith.
Attention to music and sound has significantly shaped recent, pioneering scholarship on religion and faith in early modernity. Much of this work, however, tends to take place within particular religious, national, and disciplinary contexts. This conference will range across such boundaries and borders. Bringing together scholars working on sound and music in the experience and expression of religion and faith throughout the pre-modern world c.1400-1800, the conference intends to map the state of the field.
Papers will be welcomed from scholars of any disciplinary background. Possible topics might include, but are by no means limited to:
- Sound and music in religious conversion
- Protest songs of minority faiths and cultures
- Sonic encounters and music in cross-confessional and transcultural entanglements
- Acoustic considerations of material culture
- Methodological provocations
- Soundscapes and reconstructions
- Music and sound as multi-sensorial, embodied experience
- Gendered acoustic practices
Proposals for papers of 20 minutes are welcomed from early career and established scholars. Applications from panels of three speakers or for round-table sessions are also encouraged. Please send an abstract (200 words for individual papers, and no more than 700 for panels) and a short biography for each speaker (150 words) to the conference organiser, Emilie Murphy (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 6pm on 1 September 2023.
This conference is being planned as a face-to-face event. Remote participation will be possible, but speakers will be asked to pre-record their papers, and these will be played before a live Q&A.