Papers to be Presented at the 2022 AMS/SMT/SEM Joint Conference

Event Date & Time
| -
Event Location
135 Nicholson Hall

216 Pillsbury Dr. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Join us in Nicholson 135 or on Zoom for 3 preconference talks. Light refreshments provided. Masking is welcome; masks will be available, if needed

"Schopenhauer's Silence: The Music of Paradox" by Luke Martin (CSDS Program)

After completing his final book prior to his death, Parerga and Paralipomena (1851), Schopenhauer prophetically said: ‘I will wipe my pen and say ‘the rest is silence.’’ Marked by a traumatic childhood, intense anxiety, recognition of the world’s suffering, and a bitter sense that his work had remained neglected (until his 'discovery' in the latter nineteenth century), Schopenhauer was repeatedly drawn toward the phenomenon of a nihilistic, meaningless silence underpinning the world as we know it. At the same time, music famously provided a unique reprieve for Schopenhauer: a ‘portal’ beyond representation and into the noumenal world. What is a music scholar to make of this interest in a mortal “silence” given Schopenhauer’s simultaneous search for “beauty and truth” beyond this world's suffering? Could it be that silence, a fundamental musical element, in fact characterizes such a hoped-for world?

This paper explores the neglected role Schopenhauer afforded to silence in his pursuit of truth. Recent work in in music and philosophy has examined music’s duality as both vibratory physicality and spiritual or metaphysical immateriality, notably in books by Chua & Rehding (Alien Listening, 2021), Watkins (Musical Vitalities, 2018), Cox (Sonic Flux, 2018), and Gallope (Deep Refrains, 2017). This paper will build upon this research by detailing how such debates surrounding materiality and immateriality, were, in fact, fundamental to Schopenhauer’s philosophy of music (Goehr 2002). Perhaps surprisingly, Schopenhauer was also fascinated by a wide range of scientific, biological, and material discoveries; in terms of music, he had not insignificant knowledge of tuning systems, instrumental capacities, and acoustics. Through a consideration of several of his published texts alongside related historical sources (namely his analyses of scientific advances, and the portions of the Upanishads then translated into German), this paper proposes that silence—the crux musical concept between the material and immaterial—fuses the Sanskrit principle of Brahman (underlying reality) with nineteenth-century scientific materialism. At once a philosophical and musical concept, silence functions as a hidden key that resituates central elements of Schopenhauer’s metaphysics of music, locating a ground for hope in the morbid nothingness that comes ‘after’ Schopenhauer ‘wipes his pen’.


"Holocaust Ventriloquism?: Virtual Spectacles of Living Performance" by Kathryn Huether (Bowdoin College; Ph.D. Musicology, CSDS minor 2021), via Zoom.

The conveyance of Holocaust history and memory has long been connected to voice and listening practices. It is within a survivor’s voiced testimony that listeners are granted an avenue into understanding and empathizing. The voice elucidates elements of trauma via vocal affect and distinct articulation, and into their human essence, such as vocal aging and engagement with contemporary socio-political issues; however, living testimony, or the 'Era of Witness,' will soon come to an end. Holocaust institutions and scholars are responding globally with urgency and vigor with cutting edge technology such as Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter’s virtual reality program “The Last Goodbye,” and the Illinois Holocaust Museum’s and USC Shoah Foundation’s “Holocaust Holograms,” with the hope of preserving a semblance of the 'lived' via the coupling of video and voice recordings with virtual reality technology. While these new age programs allow individuals to hold conversations with survivors virtually in real time, they remain only a specter of the experience exemplified in living testimony programs, such as the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s First Person (2000-present), a program featuring conversations with living survivors. .

Building from theories on listening and understanding (Eidsheim, Rahaim), Holocaust institutional testimonial practices (Shenker, Wlodarksi), and my own research and fieldwork at the USC Shoah Foundation, the Illinois Holocaust Museum, and USHMM, I investigate and compare the temporal, living voice of First Person to that of the atemporal digital “Holocaust Holograms.” In so doing, I demonstrate via vocal analysis that vocal fluidity and aging within the ‘Era of Witness’ illuminates contemporary reflection and engagement, qualities that are absent within the digital ‘solutions.’ I conclude by arguing that digital representations demonstrate a canonization of Holocaust memory, removing any sense of ethical urgency, and transform the living and malleable voice an act akin to ventriloquism, solidifying Holocaust memory in a particular time and place.


"The Idea of 'Crow Jim' and White Resentment Against Black Jazz Musicians" by Mikkel Vad (Bucknell University; Ph.D. CSDS), via Zoom

How did a concept describing the false idea of “reverse racial discrimination” that started in the jazz press in 1949 end up in the scholarly journal Social Work in 1963? This paper provides a genealogy of the term “Crow Jim,” a shorthand for “reverse discrimination” against white musicians. Close reading of early use of the term in the magazines Metronome and Down Beat in the years 1949–51 reveals that US critics and musicians mainly employed the label “Crow Jim” to describe how white European critics and audiences supposedly favored Black jazz authenticity over white appropriation and imitation. From the mid-1950s, however, there was a shift in the discourse of “Crow Jim” that instead framed it as a “reverse discrimination” where African American musicians supposedly denied work to their white colleagues. By the 1960s, then, one finds the concept deployed by white musicians, critics, and social scientists who asserted that a main problem in overcoming the racial segregation of the US is Black prejudice against white people. Furthermore, through the discourse of “Crow Jim,” white critics accused African American musicians of emphasizing their Blackness too much. As an example of white resentment, the paper takes on the white bandleader Stan Kenton, who in 1956 declared that “it is obvious that there is a new minority group: ‘white jazz musicians.’” Kenton’s racist remarks were met with critique but was mostly framed it as a type of prejudice that was unrelated to his music. We can, however, reverse the critique levelled against Black musicians, and suggest that Kenton performed a musical investment in whiteness through compositional techniques borrowed from Western art music, in combination with his essentializing appropriation of Black and Latin American musical tropes. Kenton’s remarks were thus not merely a form of prejudice but were consistent with his musical project of whiteness. This research reveals that ideas of “reverse racism” are not merely a product of “post-racial” affirmative action debates, but that music was a key arena in which white Americans first learned to feel resentment against Black excellence.

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