CFP: Special Issue of the Journal of the Society for American Music: Settler Sounds: Music, Indigeneity, and Colonialism in the Americas

Kendra Leonard Announcement
Subject Fields
American History / Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Music and Music History, Indigenous Studies

In her 2016 article on “Settler Colonialism and Enduring Indigeneity,” J. Kēhaulani Kauanui reflects on the rise of settler colonial studies in American Studies and the enduring need for the discipline to engage with Indigeneity. Described as “a structure, not an event” in Patrick Wolfe’s 2006 formulation, the theoretical framework of settler colonialism has been particularly useful in Indigenous studies and for historians of empire to distinguish between various kinds of colonial and post-colonial nations on the basis of their political economies. It has become increasingly clear in the intervening decade that the concept of settler colonialism may be useful not only for Indigenous studies, but for any investigation that seeks a comparative framework for understanding the history of societies founded on the dispossession of Indigenous people in the modern era. Moreover, there are good reasons to think that the idea is also useful for studies that seek to understand the conjunctures between political economies, and such elements of cultural history and social formation as aesthetics, affect, and embodied modes of knowledge.


We are soliciting submissions for a special issue of Journal of the Society for American Music, guest edited by Gabriel Solis (UIUC) and Jessica Bissett Perea (UC Davis), that will investigate sonic aspects of the Americas through a consideration of the distinct, yet related, modes of colonialism and Indigeneity that have come to define the region. The purpose of the issue is twofold: first, to evaluate how a focus on music and other sonic phenomena may help us better understand the socio-historical formation of the cultures of the Americas; and second, to discover how a focus on modes of discovery, settlement, and expansion of colonial regimes in the Americas and beyond can help us develop transnational perspectives in American music studies. Critically, we hope to use this issue to grapple with the ongoing relevance of Indigenous people and their claims to sovereignty for American music scholarship. In this moment of global upheaval, we ask, how can perspectives that foreground American states’ foundational status as settler colonies help bring new relevance to work in our field?

We welcome writing from any discipline of music and American studies, using any methodology. Individual studies need not be comparative or transnational, but we seek scholarship that identifies intersectional aspects even of highly localized case studies. We are particularly interested in studies that take a perspective that crosses linguistic divides—Anglo, Iberian, French, Russian, and more—in American music studies and work that engages beyond the settler-Indigenous dialectic to consider how a settler colonial framework helps understand the sonic dimensions of racialization in the Americas through slavery, immigration, and refugee movement, as well as musical experiences of gender and sexuality.


Topics may include, but need not be limited to:


Music, sound, and Indigeneity in the Americas


Music, sound, and resource extraction in the Americas, including contemporary struggles over land and water rights


Sound, citizenship, and sovereignty


Music and sounds of the “frontier”


Music and empire-building


Sonic gendering of the colonial subject


Music, internationalism, and government policy in the Americas


Postcolonialism and critique in music of the Americas


Music, missions, and other religious institutions in the Americas


For questions regarding this special issue, contact Gabriel Solis:

Article submissions should be sent electronically to JSAM’s Editor by April 1, 2018. Please indicate in the body of your message that you wish your article to be considered for this special issue:

Prof. Loren Kajikawa

Editor, Journal of the Society for American Music



Additional information:

Authors should send their submissions in MS Word and also include an abstract of no more than 200 words. The submission itself should be anonymous throughout the text and notes. Articles should range from 5,000 to 10,000 words (excluding notes). Longer articles will be considered but may be edited for length.

The Journal of the Society for American Music employ humanities style citations following the Chicago Manual of Style, 17th Edition.


Contact Information

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Gabriel Solis

Contact Email