Call for Proposals

The Society for Ethnomusicology 2012 Annual Meeting Call for Proposals

The 2012 Joint Annual Meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology, the American Musicological Society, and the Society for Music Theory will be held on November 1-4, 2012, in New Orleans at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel. For information on all meeting arrangements and for updates (including details for the Pre-Conference on October 31), please visit and select “Conferences.”

For the 2012 Joint Annual Meeting, the specification of a theme and topics has been suspended for maximum programmatic flexibility. With cross-disciplinary confluences occurring regularly now, it seems appropriate to call for proposals not only of particular interest to us, but also that emerge from interests shared across our disciplines. In addition to the familiar elements of our Call for Proposals from previous years, therefore, an additional category of Joint Sessions has been worked out by the chairs of the three Program Committees (see below). The deadline for submission of all proposals is earlier than in previous years: 5:00 pm EST, Tuesday, 17 January 2012.

Submission procedure: All proposals must be submitted electronically. Links to the online-submission websites for both SEM proposals and Joint Session proposals will be provided on the SEM website by mid-December. Detailed information on electronic submission procedures, including the format for all materials, will appear on the websites.

Deadline: Proposals must be receivedby 5:00 pm EST, Tuesday, 17 January 2012. No proposals will be accepted after this deadline. In order to avoid website technical problems, it is strongly suggested that proposals be submitted at least 24 hours before the deadline.

• No one may appear on the New Orleans program more than twice.
• Authors may not submit the same proposal to more than one of the three program committees (AMS, SEM, or SMT).
• If an author submits different proposals to the AMS, SEM, or SMT, and more than one is accepted, only one of the papers may be presented.

• Additional Limit on Number of Presentations by SEM Members:
SEM policy specifies that, during the regular sessions of the Annual Meeting (including Joint
Sessions in 2012), an individual may participate in ONLY ONE of the following ways:

  • Give one paper (individually or as part of an organized panel)
  • Act as a discussant for a panel
  • Participate in one roundtable, workshop, performance, or lecture-demonstration
  • Present one film/video program
  • Participate in one poster session


In addition, an individual may chair ONE panel, roundtable, or workshop. Therefore, an individual may submit ONLY ONE abstract proposal to SEM. (Organizers of panels may submit an individual presenter abstract as well as the panel abstract.)



Proposals for the Annual Meeting are invited in ten categories, as outlined below. All proposals must include a proposal form and an abstract. When submitting a proposal, first select Form A, Form B, or Form C.

A. Individual SEM Presenters Form for single papers, performances or lecture-demonstrations, film/video programs, poster (media) sessions, and workshops (participatory).

B. Organized SEM Session Form for organized panels, roundtables, films/video programs, and workshops (participatory).

C. Joint Session Form for panels or other formats that include a balance of participants from two or three societies and in which multiple approaches, methodologies, or framing discourses are presented.



1. Single Papers: Individual paper presentations are 20 minutes long and are followed by 10 minutes of discussion.
2. Performances or Lecture-Demonstrations: Up to one hour long.
3. Film/Video Programs: One recently completed or in-progress film or video program up to two hours long. Sessions may include an introduction and discussion time. Submit title, subject, and information on an introduction/discussion.
4. Poster (Media) Sessions: Display stations will be set up in a room where presenters can exhibit work in a variety of media and remain on hand during scheduled two-hour periods for discussion. Displays might include posters, audio-visual presentations of research, instrument building, as well as written work made available in a form suitable for informal presentation in a table-top display. Special display requirements (e.g., computer and audio/visual equipment) will be the responsibility of the presenter. Displays should be designed with consideration for the other presenters in the room. The abstract for Poster (Media) Sessions should describe the subject, purpose, and physical/audible characteristics of the display, as well as the audio/visual equipment or table space required.
5. Workshops (participatory): Informal, interactive hands-on session on one topic (e.g., music performance, dance, recording technology) for a maximum of two hours.



6. Organized Panels. Organized panel sessions are 90 minutes or two hours long. A 90-minute panel consists of three papers. A two-hour panel consists of either four papers or three papers plus a discussant. Each presentation (a paper or a discussant’s formal response) will be 20 minutes long, followed by 10 minutes of questions and general discussion. The Program Committee reserves the right to suggest the addition of a panelist when an independently submitted abstract appears to fit a panel. (Those interested in a more flexible format with more participants may want to consider proposing a roundtable.) Proposals for organized panels should be submitted by the panel organizer. Include the panel abstract (describing the rationale for the panel as a whole) and abstracts for the individual papers. The panel abstract is particularly critical to the Program Committee’s evaluation.
7. Roundtables: Roundtable sessions provide opportunities for participants to discuss a subject with each other and with members of the audience. Sessions of up to two hours long should include four to five presenters. We encourage formats that stimulate discussion and audience participation. The organizer will solicit position papers of up to 10 minutes from each presenter and will facilitate questions and discussion for the remaining time. Proposals for roundtables should be submitted by the session organizer and must include an abstract outlining the purpose/agenda and organization of the session, as well as the anticipated contributions of each participant (unnamed in the abstract). The organized session form provides a separate space where participants and their institutional affiliations should be listed.
8. Films/Videos: Multiple presenters of recently completed or in-progress films, video programs, or excerpts, together extending up to two hours. Sessions may include introductions and discussion time. Submit titles, subjects, and information on an introduction/discussion. Also indicate the exact duration of each proposed film, video program, and/or excerpt. The organizer must describe the overall subject of the session. List the participants and their affiliations in the space provided in the organized session form, not in the abstract.
9. Workshops (participatory): Informal, interactive hands-on session on one topic (e.g., music performance, dance, recording technology) for a maximum of two hours. The organizer must submit an abstract describing the subject of the session. List between two and five session leaders and their affiliations in the space provided in the organized session form, not in the abstract.



  • Joint sessions: For this special meeting, the Program Committees of the AMS, SEM, and SMT enthusiastically invite proposals for joint sessions, bringing together participants from across the societies. These may take the form of a joint session paper panel or a joint session of alternative format. Guidelines for both are set out below.


  • A joint session paper panel is a session that includes a balance of participants from two or three societies and in which multiple approaches, methodologies, or framing discourses are presented. Joint session proposals will be considered as a unit by the relevant program committees for AMS, SEM and SMT, and will be programmed only if accepted by those committees. Proposals must include (1) a session rationale, (2) abstracts for each paper on the session, and (3) a list of equipment needed for the papers. The session rationale must identify the home society of each participant. Paper abstracts included in a joint session proposal are components of the session proposal as a whole, and will not be considered for individual presentation. All proposals will be evaluated anonymously and should contain no direct or indirect signal of authorship. Maximum length: 350 words for the rationale, and 350 words for each constituent paper.
  • Joint session papers will be allocated thirty minutes each, twenty minutes for the paper and ten minutes for discussion. Proposals may be for sessions of ninety minutes or two hours. Proposals may also be for a session of three hours, which, in addition to a maximum of four paper proposals, may include one or two respondents.


  • Joint sessions of alternative format, that is, other than paper panels, are also encouraged. In AMS terms these are “alternative formats” including, but not limited to, sessions combining performance and scholarship, sessions discussing an important publication, sessions featuring debate on a controversial issue, and sessions devoted to discussion of papers posted online before the meeting; in SEM terms, these are roundtables, workshops, and film/ videos; and in SMT terms, these are special sessions and events of unusual format. Proposals for alternative format joint sessions should outline the intellectual content of the session, the individuals who will take part and their home society, and the structure of the session. As with the joint session paper panels, joint sessions of alternative format should include a balance of participants from two or three societies. Proposals will be considered as a unit by the relevant program committees for AMS, SEM and SMT, and will be programmed only if accepted by those committees. Proposals may be for sessions of ninety minutes, two, or three hours. Maximum length: 500 words.
  • Proposals for joint session paper panels and joint sessions of alternative format will be submitted via a shared website, to be announced closer to the submission deadline.


  • Any SEM member who presented in 2011 may submit as part of a 2012 joint session proposal.
  • No more than two of the participants in a joint session may be from the same home society.


Joint session proposals will be evaluated anonymously by members of the AMS, SEM, and SMT program committees. Proposals for alternative format sessions may include names of participants.



About Abstracts:
Abstracts should demonstrate a clear focus or statement of the problem, a coherent argument, knowledge of previous research, and a statement of the implications for ethnomusicology. Carefully observe these and other instructions given on the website.

All abstracts must comply with the following requirements:

  • Abstracts should appear as a single paragraph.
  • Abstracts over 250 words for SEM sessions will be automatically disqualified. (See different instructions for Joint Sessions.)
  • Abstracts identifying presenters, fellow researchers, or other participants will be automatically disqualified.
  • Abstracts must be submitted online by 5:00 pm EST, January 17, 2012.


SEM membership and pre-registration fees: Following SEM policy, all participants whose proposals have been accepted for the program must be SEM members and must pre-register for the meeting by August 1. This requirement also applies to those who have agreed to be waitlisted. Guest speakers at sessions sponsored by SEM constituent units must be SEM members and must pre-register for the meeting. If necessary, sections should arrange to use their dues to cover membership and registration fees for their guest speakers. Any presenter who has not purchased an SEM membership and pre-registered for the meeting by August 1 will be deleted from the program.

Special membership requirement for 2012: A presenter may hold an AMS or SMT membership in lieu of an SEM membership.

Notification of acceptance: SEM members whose proposals have been accepted will be sent pre-registration information around May 1. If by May 14 you have not received a message from the Program Committee indicating whether or not your abstract was accepted, please contact Drew Norris, SEM Conference Coordinator, at Indiana University Conferences at

Cancellations and no-shows: No-shows inconvenience the chair, discussant, fellow panelists, and audience members. Participants who discover that they are unable to attend the meeting should notify the Program Committee Chair and immediately. SEM policy does not permit anyone other than the author to read a paper.  Pre-registration cancellations made after September 6 will not qualify for a refund.

Special requests: Please indicate potential scheduling conflicts to the Program Committee Chair. If notified in advance, the Program Committee will attempt to accommodate requests, but cannot guarantee a particular time slot.

Charles Seeger Prize: Students interested in having a paper considered for the Charles Seeger Prize should consult the guidelines on the SEM website ( “Prizes.”


Submission and Contact Information

For online submissions of proposals: Go to and select “Conferences.” Submission deadline: 5:00 pm EST, January 17, 2012.

For general conference questions: or (800) 933-9330 (within U.S.) or (812) 855-4661 (outside U.S.).

For questions to the SEM Program Committee Chair (not for submission of proposals) and for cancellations: Bonnie C. Wade (University of California, Berkeley),



January 17        Online submission of all 2012 proposals (5:00 pm EST).
May 1               Notifications of acceptances sent with pre-registration information.
August 1           Deadline for receipt of pre-registration and SEM membership fees from individuals
whose proposals were accepted or waitlisted.
September 6      Deadline for presenter cancellation and refund of pre-registration fees from SEM
                        members whose proposals were accepted (minus a $35 handling fee).
October 5         Deadline for registration cancellation refund for non-presenters (minus a $35
                        handling fee).


SEM 2012 Program Committee

Bonnie C. Wade, Chair (University of California, Berkeley)
Judah M. Cohen (Indiana University)
Paul Greene (Pennsylvania State University)
Frank Gunderson (Florida State University)
Eileen M. Hayes (University of Northern Texas)
David Novak (University of California, Santa Barbara)
Jeff Packman (University of Toronto)
Tina K. Ramnarine (Royal Holloway University of London)


Society Websites

Society for Ethnomusicology:

American Musicological Society:

Society for Music Theory: