CFP: Society for American Music 2018 Conference

Kendra Leonard's picture
Call for Papers
June 1, 2017
United States
Subject Fields: 
Women's & Gender History / Studies, Public History, Dance and History of Dance, American History / Studies, Music and Music History

The Society for American Music invites proposals for (a) individual papers, (b) organized panels of 2-4 papers, (c) lecture-recitals, (d) written papers related to one of the seminar topics, (e) scholarly posters, and (f) interest groups for its 44th Annual Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, to be held 28 February - 4 March 2018. All proposals must be submitted via the SAM web site by 11:59 pm PDT 1 June 2017.

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.

We especially welcome submissions that emphasize any aspect of music and music cultures in Kansas City or elsewhere in the Midwest and those related to World War I, celebrating the centenary of the war’s end and the presence of the World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City. SAM has reserved the museum for Friday, 2 March, for scholarly sessions and visits. Another possible topic might involve the work of pioneering scholar Samuel Floyd, Jr. (1937-2016). We seek proposals that address his scholarly legacy and the larger topic of African American music studies.

We also welcome proposals related to the wide-ranging musical activities of our newest honorary members: composers Chen Yi and Zhou Long, both members of the composition faculty at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music. We hope that our meeting in Kansas City might serve as a forum for the discussion of activities by Chinese American composers and musicians.

A. Individual Papers
Paper sessions (assembled by the Program Committee after the selection of abstracts) may contain anywhere from two to four presentations. Each presentation lasts 20 minutes followed by 10 minutes of discussion. Note: 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 2-4 Papers and Facilitated Public Musicology Panels
Groups of two to four presenters may propose a panel. Panels will be accepted or rejected in toto; the Program Committee will not break up panels in order to accept individual papers. Please note that group panels may include performance elements. Group 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 needs (e.g., piano, music stand).

Groups may also propose panels that engage in topics or issues currently in the news that have connections to the work of the society. Such panel proposals need to specify the length of time requested (sixty minutes, ninety minutes or one hundred twenty minutes) and provide a rationale for this request. Such panel proposals may put forward up to four panel participants.

The chair of the group panel is responsible for submitting:
(1) a proposal for the panel as a whole; 
(2) individual proposals for each presenter/performer on the panel. Chairs are advised to gather all necessary contact information from individual presenters (see “General Guidelines” below) before website submission.

C. Lecture-Recitals
Proposals for lecture-recitals of music from anywhere in 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 this year. Applicants should specify the length in their abstracts. Applicants must also include in the body of their 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 needs (e.g., piano, music stand, space for dance demonstration, choral risers).

D. Seminar-format session
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 prior to the conference. At the session itself, each presenter will summarize his/her paper for five minutes only. Attendees are expected to have read the papers in advance. The topic selected for the 2018 meeting is:

Music and American Cultural Memory

Although papers for the seminar will not be “read” at the meeting in the traditional sense, the act of participating in the seminar as a presenter and defending the ideas of one’s paper constitutes the same level of participation in an academic conference as a traditional paper. For this reason, those submitting abstracts toward one of the seminars cannot also submit toward a regular session.

E. Research Poster Sessions
The poster format provides an opportunity for SAM members to meet informally with scholars and discuss their research. Each scholar attends her/his respective 90-minute session, distributes abstracts, and answers questions. Power will not be available; therefore, sound or video examples will require a personal computer utilizing battery, rather than AC. Poster sessions are not moderated. Note: 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. Learn more about the poster 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 Web site by the 1 June deadline. Groups with a guaranteed slot for 2018 will be included in the program as long as they submit a brief description of their plans by the deadline. IG sessions are not intended to mirror conventional panels featuring a set of 20-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, and 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.

General Guidelines
In order to have a proposal considered for any of these formats, the proposer must be a member of the Society for American Music. The committee particularly encourages proposals from those who did not present at the 2017 Montreal meeting. An individual may submit only one proposal. All proposals must be submitted through the online electronic submission process on the SAM web site.

The submission form on the SAM web site will ask for the following information:

  1. Proposer’s name, e-mail address, institutional affiliation or city of residence, affirmation of SAM membership, 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.)
  2. A 250-word proposal. This document is the only one viewed by the Program Committee prior to the selection process. Applicants should not include in the abstract any information that identifies themselves (such as “I have just published a book on this subject,” for instance). An exception is made with regard to lecture-recital proposals which must include links to audio or visual 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.
  3. 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). Include in this document 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.
  4. A list of five keywords for individual paper proposals to aid the Program Committee in forming paper sessions.
  5. Audio and visual needs: please specify your exact A/V requirements, such as CD player, DVD player, and digital projector. Due to logistics and the high cost of renting this equipment, we cannot accommodate AV changes after a proposal is accepted.

All materials must be submitted via the SAM web site by 11:59 pm PDT 1 June 2017. Questions about the submission process may be addressed to Program Chair Paul Laird at

Proposers will be informed of the decisions of the Program Committee in mid-July. Persons accepted will be asked to confirm within one week their commitment to appear at the Kansas City meeting. 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. Presenter cancellation after August 1, 2017 without arrangement for alternative presentation will disqualify the applicant from being considered for the 2019 meeting.


Please visit to submit. 

Contact Info: 

Program Committee Chair, Paul Laird 

Contact Email: