cfp: Music and Dance on East–West Axis

Call for Papers 

Music and Dance on East–West Axis: Correlations and Mobilities- International scientific symposium 

Organizers: Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts: Institute of Musicology – Department of Arts, Istanbul University State Conservatory

Location: Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Belgrade (Serbia)

Dates: September 4–6th, 2023 The question of “Orient” in humanities gained significant attention, especially after the landmark work of Edward Said (1978). However, the issue of representation from the position of power was of a much older date, and the eurocentric perspective of the late 19th and 20th centuries influenced comparative musicology and then ethnomusicology to a certain extent, due to the fact that ethnomusicology as a discipline is rooted in the observation of music of “the Others”. Said’s work also affected academic discourse about questions of (Middle) East wars and the history and social reflections of the religions, and it was a necessary basis for postcolonial and deconialization studies in global terms, which occupy a significant position in contemporary ethnomusicology (and musicology). Perceived from the aspect of “the crossroads between East and West” and the attitude of abandonment of burdening synonym for conflicting nations, the Balkans, as the main focus area for this symposium, is observed as a field for research of correlations in music and dance heritage, as well as the space where/through music/dance and musicians/dancers are migrating and moving.

In the 21st century, the study of cultural relations through music and dance in the Balkans, with the idea of establishing historical and contemporary connections, has stimulated several international projects based on collaborative ethnomusicological, ethnochoreological and musicological research. The opening and growth of national “schools” for music and dance studies, as well as the interpretation of new primary sources, expanded the possibility of writing new histories of a regional character. The liminal position of the Balkans has inspired numerous discussions in global humanities about this region as a crossroads and a bridge between East and West, with a special emphasis on the spectrum of correlations of Oriental, Mediterranean and Balkan cultures. On this occasion, a rethinking of the East would be encouraged, with a special focus on establishing common heritage, practices and tendencies in music and dance – from new applications and interpretations of the concepts of Orientalism and postcolonialism to the presentation of the results of a structural analysis of presumed Eastern influences in a broader sense.

This combination of joint research of international scholars and the fluidity of the East–West axis points not only to comparative methods, but also to the examination of current theoretical concepts. By following the process and consequences of historical and contemporary migrations, the questions of music and dance in multi-ethnic environments, transnational music and/or dance forms, mobility of musicians and dancers, music and dance in the diaspora are opened up; today they can be of interest to the musicological, ethnomusicological and ethnochoreological research teams in the widest geographical frameworks. In the context of the investigations of music and dance in the Balkans, it would be particularly important to build upon the previous studies of complex music and dance phenomena by focusing on the aforementioned aspects of movement.

The symposium is planned as part of the TRackeRS bilateral cooperation project and selected papers will be published in an edited book in 2024 (editors: Marija Dumnić Vilotijević, Abdullah Akat; publisher: Institute of Musicology SASA).

The list of topics of the symposium includes (but it is not limited to):

– music and dance of the Slavic and Turkish people in the post-Ottoman context;
– Pan-Balkan music and dance practices in the context of heritage;
– scientific, artistic and performative interpretations of the Orient in music and dance practices;
– music and dance in the context of migration;
– music and dance in the diaspora;
– methodologies of collaborative research in musicology, ethnomusicology and ethnochoreology. 

Keynote Speaker: Jim Samson, Fellow of the British Academy; author of Music in the Balkans (Leiden: Brill, 2013) and co-author of Black Sea Sketches: Music, Place and People (London: Routledge, 2021) 

Submission guidelines:Each proposal (sent as .DOC or .DOCX file) should include: the author’s name and affiliation, e-mail address; an abstract (no more than 300 words); a short biography (no more than 100 words). The proposal should be submitted to: by the deadline of April 1st, 2023. All authors will be notified about acceptance by May 1st, 2023.

Preliminary program will be announced by June 1st, 2023, and the book of abstracts will be published by August 15th, 2023.

Conference hall is equipped with computer, internet, and sound and projection facilities.

The official language of the conference is English.

More information about organizational details will be announced in 2023. 

Program Committee:
Abdullah Akat (Istanbul University State Conservatory, Türkiye)
Vencislav Dimov (Institute of Art Studies BAS, Bulgaria)
Marija Dumnić Vilotijević (Institute of Musicology SASA, Serbia)
Aleksandar Fotić (Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Belgrade, Serbia)
Mehmet Hacısalihoğlu (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Germany)
Jelena Jovanović (Department of Arts SASA, Serbia)
Marko Kölbl (University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, Austria)
Danka Lajić Mihajlović (Institute of Musicology SASA, Serbia)
Irene Markoff (York University, Canada)
Biljana Milanović (Institute of Musicology SASA, Serbia)
Ivana Medić (Institute of Musicology SASA, Serbia)
Mehmet Öcal Özbilgin (State Turkish Music Conservatory of Ege University, Türkiye)
Zdravko Ranisavljević (Faculty of Music of the University of Arts in Belgrade, Serbia)
Jim Samson (British Academy, United Kingdom)
Katarina Tomašević (Institute of Musicology SASA, Serbia)
Sonja Zdravkova Đeparoska (Faculty of Music of “St. Cyril and Methodius” University, North Macedonia)
Sanja Zlatanović (Institute of Ethnography SASA, Serbia)