Music and Pleasure before the Law International Conference
Wednesday, 28 June 2023 - Thursday, 29 June 2023
UCD School of Music
Belfield, Dublin 4
More details on the conference are found here
Today, scholars interested in expanding and diversifying the way we think music and sex together are faced with a rift between intellectual and political landscapes. On the one hand, such inquiry has been legitimized by more than thirty years of scholarship that has celebrated music’s capacity to represent myriad sexual experiences and identities, as well as its ability to engender radical, destabilizing forms of sonic pleasure. On the other, recent successful political and legal efforts to curtail sexual rights in the name of moral or religious objection are unwinding gains made from identity-based political action. To better navigate this climate, we seek to step back from the traditional focus on how musicians or musical works represent specific sexual desires and identities to interrogate the larger institutional, administrative, and discursive forces that conterminously shape the history of music and sexuality.
Intentionally returning to Foucault’s interest in the emergence and productivity of disciplinary practices, this conference aims to examine moments where music and pleasure have been brought together before the law or, more generally, any authoritative discourse which purports to regulate human behavior. Inviting scholars to share diverse historical and cultural situations, we intend to collectively and investigate the following questions: To what extent have legal or doctrinal discourses considered music and sexuality as analogous issues? What are the shared tactics used to regulate or manage musical and sexual behaviors? What actions have been taken by marginalized individuals or groups to undercut, evade, or reform discourses that limited musical and sexual freedom? What methodological, theoretical, or conceptual resources are needed to tackle such issues? Responding to these questions, we hope to consider how our reactions to contemporary sexual politics can draw from those who have previously encountered the varied, but historically persistent forces that attempt to bring order to the unruly world of sexual and musical experience.
The conference will be held at University College Dublin on 28 - 29 June 2023. Our discussion will culminate in a keynote address given by Professor Suzanne Cusick (New York University).