CfP: African-American Music in World Culture (Boston University)

African American Studies Program at Boston University:
African-American Music in World Culture: Art as Refuge and Strength in the Struggle for Freedom
March 18-22, 2014 – Boston University, Brookline (MA)
Deadline for Proposals: September 15, 2013

The Program in African American Studies at Boston University invites proposals for papers, pre-constituted panels, and lecture/recitals exploring the influence of African-American music on world cultures and freedom movements.

Keynote presentations will be delivered by Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, composer, music historian, and social activist; Joshua Rifkin, historical musicologist and revivalist of Scott Joplin’s Ragtime compositions; and Jazz impresario George Wein, a pioneer organizer and perpetuator of the “festival era” that began with his management of the 1954 Newport Jazz Festival. The conference will also feature an evening concert by three-time Grammy Award winner Dee Dee Bridgewater. The conference is in part a tribute to Mr. Wein for his pivotal role in the popularization of African-American music in the United States and abroad on up to the present.

Paper presentations will be 15–20 minutes in length. Lecture/recitals will be limited to 30 minutes in length. Pre-constituted panels should include a chair and three papers. All presentation formats will be followed by 10–15 minutes for questions and discussion.

Prospective presenters are encouraged to submit proposals on (but not limited to) the following themes as they relate to the international influence of African-American music and the struggle for freedom:

  • Slave Songs and Negro Spirituals
  • Folk Songs, Work Songs, Prison Songs, and Blues
  • Ragtime and Jazz
  • African Americans and Classical Music
  • Hip Hop: Its Interdisciplinary and Universality
  • African-American Music and Civil Rights Movements
  • Collaboration between Blacks and Jews, and the economic impact in the broader music industry
  • Economic and cultural impact of African-American music on the other arts, and on mass media

Accepted presenters will be required to submit a manuscript of their presentation by February 15, 2014. Selected manuscripts may later be revised into articles for publication in an anthology.

Submission Criteria

Proposal abstracts should be no more than 200 words. Please also include a brief biography and audio-visual requirements. Pre-constituted panels should include a brief overview of the panel in addition to separate paper abstracts. Proposals should be emailed as attachments in PDF form on or before September 15, 2013, to Professor Allison Blakely, in care of afamconf at Please type “CFP-Music” in the subject field.

For more information, please contact Genithia Hogges, Programming Coordinator, afamconf at

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