Cfp: Unheard Melodies: Towards A Global Musicology of boys love Media

Call for Papers 

Unheard Melodies: Towards A Global Musicology of boys love Media 

What implications does the study of music, broadly defined, have for boys love media in Asia and beyond? The potential for comprehensive engagement appears vast in theory, but practical exploration remains somewhat limited. This prospective collection of essays aims to bridge the gap between theory and practice by delving into an otherwise relatively unexplored terrain. By examining the intricate dynamics between music and boys love media, encompassing visual, textual, audiovisual elements, and more, our mission is to shed light on the profound influence music exerts on narrative, aesthetics, and emotional expressions. While the amalgamation of music and popular media in the Asian context offers fertile ground for scholarly inquiry, the specific realm of boys love media remains noticeably absent from existing musicological scholarship. Through thoughtful research and an interdisciplinary approach, we warmly invite scholars, researchers, and experts to contribute studies that unravel the intricate connections between music and boys love media. Expanding on themes such as the narrative functions of music, portrayals of musical performances, the symbolic and metaphorical dimensions of music, and the affective and expressive currents in auditory, sonic, and queer contexts, this collection aspires to establish a robust foundation for exploring musicology within the diverse manifestations of boys love media across the expansive Asian landscape and beyond. 

The following categories and questions should be considered a viable starting point for the scholarly discourse of this collection: 

Sonic Storytelling: Analysis of the use of music and sound in BL media, including the impact of soundtracks, sound design, and sonic aesthetics. 

  1. 1  How do soundtracks and sound design contribute to the narrative structure and emotional impact of BL media? 
  2. 2  What are the specific techniques employed in the use of sound to enhance character development and relationships within BL narratives? 
  3. 3  How do sonic aesthetics in BL media contribute to the creation of unique atmospheres and immersive reading/viewing experiences? 
  4. 4  In what ways does the manipulation of sound and music influence the pacing, tension, and overall storytelling in BL media? 
  5. 5  How do soundtracks and sound design reflect and reinforce the themes and motifs present in BL narratives? 

Musical Intersections: Exploration of the intersections between BL narratives and different musical genres, styles, and traditions, considering their implications for character development, emotional resonance, and narrative themes. 

  1. 1  How do specific musical genres, styles, or traditions intersect with and enhance the narrative themes and emotional resonance within BL narratives? 
  2. 2  What are the implications of incorporating various musical genres or styles in relation to the development of characters’ identities and relationships? 
  3. 3  How does the use of different musical genres or styles contribute to the cultural, temporal, or geographic contexts portrayed in BL narratives? 
  4. 4  In what ways do musical intersections challenge or reinforce traditional narrative conventions within the BL genre? 
  5. 5  How do the intersections of music and narrative in BL media provide opportunities for subversion, empowerment, or commentary on social and cultural norms? 

Visualizing Melodies: Investigation of the visual representation of music in BL media, including visual motifs, sound effects, symbolism, and the interplay between visuals and musical themes. 

  1. 1  How are musical themes and motifs visually represented in BL media through visual motifs, symbols, or metaphors? 
  2. 2  What is the role of sound effects in conveying musicality or enhancing the visual representation of music within BL narratives? 
  3. 3  How do visual representations of music contribute to the overall aesthetic and storytelling in BL media? 
  4. 4  In what ways does the interplay between visuals and musical themes enhance the readers’ or viewers’ engagement and understanding of the narrative? 
  5. 5  How are visual representations of music used to create emotional impact, convey character dynamics, or depict moments of intimacy within BL media? 

Gender, Desire, and Performance: Examination of the relationship between music, gender identities, and desire within BL narratives, focusing on musical performances, gender performativity, and expressions of embodiment and desire through music. 

  1. 1  How do musical performances in BL media reflect or challenge traditional gender identities and roles? 
  2. 2  In what ways does music contribute to the exploration and expression of desire within BL narratives, particularly in relation to gender and sexuality? 
  3. 3  How does gender performativity intersect with musical performances and expressions of desire within BL media? 
  4. 4  What are the implications of musical performances as sites of empowerment, agency, or vulnerability for characters within BL narratives? 
  5. 5  How do musical performances and expressions of desire through music in BL media contribute to the construction and negotiation of the readers’ or viewers’ own identities and desires? 

Queerness and Music: Exploration of the intersection between queerness and music within BL narratives, considering the representation, subversion, and exploration of queer identities, experiences, and aesthetics. 

  1. How does music function as a vehicle for exploring and representing queer identities and experiences within BL narratives? 
  2. In what ways does music contribute to the subversion of heteronormative conventions and the exploration of non-binary, fluid, or non-conforming gender identities within BL media? 
  3. How do musical aesthetics and expressions within BL narratives reflect or challenge societal norms surrounding queerness and sexuality? 
  4. How does music facilitate the creation of queer spaces, communities, and imaginaries within the context of BL media and its fandom? 

What are the implications of the queering of musical tropes, genres, or performances within BL narratives for the broader understanding of queerness in music and popular culture? 

Fandom and Musical Engagement: Study of the role of music within BL fandom, including fan-created music, covers, adaptations, and the impact of musical engagement on fan communities. 

  1. 1  How does music function as a form of creative expression and engagement within BL fandom, such as fan-created music, covers, or adaptations? 
  2. 2  What are the ways in which musical engagement strengthens fan communities and fosters a sense of belonging within the BL fandom? 
  3. 3  How does musical engagement and fan participation contribute to the interpretation and reinterpretation of BL narratives and characters? 
  4. 4  In what ways does the production and consumption of fan-created music and adaptations shape the reception and circulation of BL media? 
  5. 5  How does the intersection of music and fandom challenge or reinforce the boundaries between creator and audience, original and derivative works, within the BL community? 

Essays should be around 7500 words (inclusive of notes and bibliography). By October 31st, 2023, please send abstracts of no more than 350 words to Christopher Hepburn, PhD, chepburn [at] with the subject heading “[Your Name]: Unheard Melodies Submission.” Confirmation of your submission will be provided upon receipt, and notifications of acceptance will be sent by November 30th, 2023. If your submission is accepted for inclusion, please be prepared to send a completed draft essay by 11:59pm on July 31st, 2024, for peer review. It is our intention that the essay collection be proposed to the interested publisher by the tentative date of December 31st, 2024. However, depending on peer review turnaround and other circumstances often beyond the control of the editor(s), this date may be subject to change. 

An online authors’ workshop for accepted submissions will be organized after submission acceptances go out in order to ensure the chapters engage in a mutually informative discussion.