The Challenge of Studying Music and History Together

AHA Session 44
Thursday, January 2, 2014: 3:30 PM-5:30 PM
Marriott Balcony B (Marriott Wardman Park)
Robert Judd, Bowdoin College
Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century France
William Weber, California State University, Long Beach
Early Modern America
Glenda Goodman, University of Southern California
Twentieth-Century Britain and United States
Stanley Pelkey, Roberts Wesleyan College
Twentieth-Century France
Jeffrey H. Jackson, Rhodes College
Early Modern Europe
Andrew H. Weaver, Catholic University of America
Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Germany
Celia S. Applegate, Vanderbilt University

Session Abstract

“The Challenge of Studying Music and History Together”

This panel will bring together musicologists and historians who have been involved in collaboration between the two fields. Designed as a Roundtable, the session asks the participants to be frank about the challenge posed by working with scholars from another discipline. Even though historians have often mentioned aspects of music, and musicologists necessarily trace historical narratives, it is another matter to work directly with people and methodologies from the other discipline, tolerating intellectual differences between them. Indeed, understanding and tolerating intellectual differences is critical in the increasingly interdisciplinary climate of academia today. Fundamentally, scholars in both fields have to wrestle in one way or another with the “’musicality’ of music,” but each may do so differently because of training, historiographical interests, and methodologies. Thus have historians overcome their insecurity about musical technique, and musicologists have expanded  how they understand musical culture.

At the session each participant will suggest how s/he found common ground with the other field and thereby went in a new direction interpreting music’s roles in society, politics, or culture. A broad range of periods and geographical regions will be discussed: Germany, France, Britain, and North America in the 16th through the 20th century. Robert Judd, Executive Director of the American Musicological Society, will serve as chair. William Weber will open by outlining the history of interaction between music and history, with special attention to French studies. Glenda Goodman will discuss her extensive interaction with Colonial historians.  Jeffrey Jackson and Stanley Pelkey will offer a paper in common  on their experience editing Music and History: Bridging the Disciplines (2005). Olivia Bloechl will discuss her interdisciplinary work on early modern race and empire. And Celia Applegate will show how musical topics help rethink problems in German cultural history

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