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"Activist Transformations/Transforming Activism": Illinois Student Association of Music Scholars (ISAMS) First Interdisciplinary Conference

Event Type
College of Fine and Applied Arts; School of Music; Musicology Division; Graduate College; Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center; European Union Center; Center for African Studies; Department of English; Department of Anthropology
Apr 25, 2014 - Apr 27, 2014   All Day
Originating Calendar
Russian, E. European & Eurasian Center: Conference & Workshops

Artistic endeavor has long been a means of engaging in social and political activism. Whether in the music of Bob Dylan or the French Revolutionary painting of Jacques-Louis David, creative mediums often help to construct, reflect, or comment on contemporary social or political situations. This conference explores how creativity, or its use, has the power to negotiate various types of conflict through mediation and education. Thus, we will consider the exchange between creativity and activism as well as their ability to transform one another. As the aim of the conference is to investigate the various ways art interacts with activist agendas, papers employ various disciplinary methodologies and approaches to this issue. Panels will explore such issues as the relationship between composers and activism, identity and space, and performance and social activism.

Schedule of Events:

Friday, April 25


Smith 25, Smith Memorial Hall
Free and Open to the Public
6:30 pm 
Welcome by Dr. Jeffrey Magee, Director of the University of Illinois School of Music and Professor of Music and Theatre

6:35 pm 
Introduction by Megan Woller, President of ISAMS

6:35 pm Keynote:
Ethnomusicology and Advocacy Research: Ukraine as Case Study
Dr. Adriana Helbig, Assistant Professor of Music, University of Pittsburgh
Funded by:
The Student Organization Research Fee
Saturday, April 26
Music Room, Levis Faculty Center

8:30 am 
Registration and Coffee

9:00 am 
Panel 1Composer as Activist
Chair: Professor Stephen Taylor, Associate Professor of
Composition-Theory, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Feminism as Nationalism?: A Critical Perspective on Dame Ethel Smyth
Trevor Nelson, Michigan State University
An Inescapable Sermon: Expressions of Spirituality and Nationality in Ralph
Vaughan Williams’s A Song of Thanksgiving (1944)
Emily Wuchner, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Variation with a Point: Social Critique in Frederic Rzewski’s Polytonal Works
Bree Guerra, University of Texas-Pan American
10:30 am 
Coffee Break

10:45 am 
Panel 2: Social Activism and Performance
Chair: Dr. Michael Silvers, Assistant Professor of Musicology,
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
“Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye”: Music, Spectacle and the Execution of John Wayne Gacy
Michael Siletti, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
“I want to be normal”: representations of gender and sexuality in the music of the
former Yugoslavia
Laura Jorgensen, University of Texas at Austin
(En)voicing Pluralism: Janelle Monáe’s Cyber-vocalities
Christopher Nickell, New York University

12:15 pm 
Lunch Break (provided)

1:30 pm 
Film Screening and Discussion:
WR: Mysteries of the Organism (1971), Directed by Dušan
Introduced by Steve Wilson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Dinner on your own

7:30 pm 
Concert: Balkanalia
“Zbogom Selo: Songs of Farewell, Dances of Joy”
Recital Hall, Smith Memorial Hall
Free and Open to the Public
Sunday, April 27
Music Room, Levis Faculty Center

9:00 am

9:30 am 
Panel 3: Space and Identity
Chair: Lillie Gordon, Visiting Lecturer, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Staging the Revolution: Live Music and Social Change in “Post”-Revolutionary Egypt
Darci Sprengel, University of California, Los Angeles
Digital Activism and Expressive Culture in the Syrian Revolution
Maria Trogolo, Indiana University
Queering the Harp: Reorienting Social Space in Midwestern Sacred Harp Singing
Jonathon Smith, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
11:00 am 
Concluding Roundtable Discussion
Moderated by Dr. Adriana Helbig, Assistant Professor of Music, University of Pittsburgh
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