CFP: Sound and Affect. Voice, Music, World


International Conference
Stony Brook University
April 18-19, 2014

Call for Papers

Stony Brook University’s conference, Sound and Affect: Voice, Music, World, seeks to investigate the varied intersections of sound and affect.  This conference has been organized jointly by Stony Brook’s Department of Music and Department of Philosophy, with the assistance of the Music and Philosophy Study Group of the American Musicological Society, and in collaboration with the Music and Philosophy Study Group of the Royal Musical Association.

In the voice as it speaks, stutters, rustles, hesitates, chokes, sounds ‘accented,’ or cries; in music, whether vocal, instrumental, or electronic; in our sonic environments, whether natural or manmade; and in the many modalities of listening that respond to our sonic worlds, the sounds we make and hear can seem to externalize, reflect, evoke, recall, or catalyze affective states.  Moreover, the many linkages of sound and affect are far from stable or autonomous. Race, class, and gender, social, cultural, and political experience, and diverse forms of historical change can all condition the relays and relations of sound and affect.  If we live in a “tower of sound,” to use an expression from Leonard Cohen, this tower is sometimes the scene of a battlement and sometimes a beacon, every bit as protean, contentious, and contradictory as the world in which it takes shape.

Though grounded in music studies and philosophy, our conference hopes to foster dialogue among scholars from across the humanities, particularly those working in sound studies and affect theory.  We welcome submissions dealing with sound and affect from the perspectives of philosophy (continental, analytic, etc.), musicology, music theory, ethnomusicology, sound studies, literary theory, history, media and communication studies, political theory, art history, anthropology, and other relevant disciplines.  Possible topics may include, but are by no means limited to, the following:

  • Sound and affect in the psychoanalytic session
  • Sound, Heideggerian Stimmung and the affective disclosure of the world
  • Affect and musical form or formal analysis
  • Deleuzian affective intensities and “the refrain”
  • Affect, popular music, and mass culture
  • The production and mediation of affect in live performance
  • Affect and the weaponization of music and sound
  • Affect and soundscapes of war
  • Sound, music, affect, and their technological mediations
  • Affect and the soundscape of the political rally, or protest, or occupation
  • The affective charges of accent in spoken language
  • Affect, sound, and the constitution of racial identity
  • Historical conceptions of musical affect (especially the Affektenlehre) vis-à-vis contemporary affect theory
  • Voice and the production of affect
  • Voice, accent, racialization
  • Social mediations of affect and sound (e.g. economic, cultural, intellectual)
  • Music, sound and affective labor
  • Theorizing affect across sonic practices (music, film sound, sound art)
  • Sound’s relationship to emotion, meaning, and memory
  • Sound’s relationship to the unconscious, the irrational, and the erotic
  • Affective theology, spirituality, and religious thought
  • Sound, affect, memory, and cultural identity

Please send an abstract of 500 words to the following email address: The final deadline for abstracts is December 15, 2013.  In your email, please include a separate document stating your name, your institutional affiliation and position, and your paper’s audiovisual requirements. If you have any questions, please contact Stephen Decatur Smith at

By admin

Sign up for periodic announcements via our Newsletter!