SMT 2020: Committee on Race and Ethnicity Session in Minneapolis

Call for Proposals:

“Stories from the Frontlines”

Committee on Race and Ethnicity session at 2020 AMS/SMT meeting


Issues pertaining to class in higher education today remain as pervasive as ever—whether it be in connections between poverty and lack of access to educational resources, cost of living issues faced by those with student debts, the professional and intellectual challenges faced by scholars in positions of under- or contingent employment, and so on. Moreover, even though people of color are affected disproportionately by class-related issues, this is a phenomenon that affects everyone in some fashion.

In this light, the Committee on Race and Ethnicity is sponsoring a session on issues at the intersection of race and class at the 2020 meeting of the Society for Music Theory and the American Musicological Society in Minneapolis, MN. As evident in its title, “Stories from the Frontlines,” this session is meant to give scholars who have personally experienced or addressed issues regarding class inequality, and its intersection with race, a chance to share their stories with the music theory community. The session will feature such stories by several invited speakers, and also Q&As with these speakers, and breakout discussions on the subject of the speakers’ stories among the members of the audience. The Committee would like to invite to the session especially scholars who have faced, or are facing, employment contingency, to give them a chance to share their experiences on this topic. Therefore, we invite proposals from contingent scholars—including, but not limited to, graduate student instructors and teaching assistants, lecturers, adjuncts, visiting assistant professors, professors of practice, and clinical track faculty—to present at this session. We are interested especially in hearing stories of how contingent or under-employment has affected one’s job prospects, family life, and opportunities for research and intellectual development.

Presentations will be in the form of ten-minute “lightning talks,” and all proposals will be evaluated anonymously by the current members of the Committee on Race and Ethnicity. Four speakers will be chosen to present at the session—however, anyone who submits a proposal will be welcome to share their story on the Committee’s website, on a page dedicated to this purpose.


Please submit your proposal as a PDF document to, by midnight Eastern Time on February 18, 2020. (Please indicate in the body of the email your name, your affiliation (if any), and your AV requirements.)

Proposals should be ideally around 300 words, given the length of each presentation, but no more than 500 words in length. They should exclude the author’s name and any other direct or indirect signal of authorship, and “author” tags must be removed from electronic files. Supplementary materials are not necessary, but may be submitted to substantiate an argument, demonstrate results, or clarify the proposal’s relationship to prior scholarship. Supplementary materials will not be counted within the 500-word limit, but must not exceed four pages, and any supplementary text (e.g., example captions) should not add appreciably to the word count or content of the proposal.

Questions may be directed to Somangshu Mukherji, the Chair of the Committee on Race and Ethnicity, at

SMT 2019: Committee on Race and Ethnicity Session in Columbus

Session theme: “Diversity in Music Theory Pedagogy”
(Friday, November 8, 2019, from 2:15 – 5:30 pm)


Handout for Part 1 of  the session.
Handout for the talk by John Roeder in Part 2 of the session.
Handout for the talk by Robin Attas in Part 2 of the session.
Handout for Part 3 of the session. 



Session description

Part 1. Instrument-making activity (30 minutes)

Quintina Carter-Ényì (University of Georgia), moderator
Marvin Wayne Allen (Morehouse College)
Ariel Alvarado (Spelman College)
Tyler Jennings (Spelman College)
Donovan Polk (Morehouse College)
Elaine Ransom (Spelman College)
Julian Rucker (Morehouse College)
Kha’Zhir Stevenson (Spelman College)
Ridge White (Morehouse College)

The above facilitators will lead participants in an instrument-making activity with materials provided by Morehouse and Spelman Colleges, commonly found on college and university campuses (e.g. laser cutters).


Part 2. Lightning talks on diversifying music theory pedagogy (120 minutes)

John Roeder (University of British Columbia): “World Music as a Resource for Teaching Music Theory”

Nancy Rao (Rutgers University): “Including Music by Diverse Composers: Redefine Modes of Analysis”

Robin Attas (Queen’s University): “Working with Diverse Student Populations in the Classroom”


Each talk will be followed by a 20-minute breakout discussion between the members of the audiences.


Part 3. Performance activity (30 minutes)

In this last activity, the lamellophones made in Part 1 will be returned to the audience after having been tuned. Once the instruments are returned, workshop facilitators will guide groups of participants through performance activities responding to the three topics of the lightning talks.

  • Learning a transcription of a cyclical process from Balinese Gamelan music
  • Studying and practicing a new composition by Emily Koh (University of Georgia)
  • Aural training exercises using lamellophones


These performance activities will demonstrate multi-sensory learning strategies for the classroom, and tools that may be used to implement the action items discussed in Part 2, without significant cost to a department or school of music.