Intersectional Masculinities in the Music and Performance Cultures of German-Speaking Europe

Call for Papers

University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, March 16-18, 2023

While the area of masculinity-studies developed as an independent concern within the broader field of gender studies in the late twentieth century, its application in the disciplinary terrains of cultural studies and arts is only beginning to gain momentum. The planned symposium therefore explicitly addresses early-career researchers in (ethno-) musicology, theater, performance and dance studies,  as well as cultural studies, whose work sheds light on this hitherto underexamined aspect.   

The symposium primarily seeks to investigate how masculinities are expressed, negotiated, or contested in the music- and performance-cultures of Austria, Germany (GDR/FRG) and Switzerland, and purports to analyse how they are intertwined with imaginaries of the nation, race and sexuality. This takes into account examples drawn from diverse music and performance cultures, including their practitioners and fans at professional and amateur levels. Such a broad focus accommodates a variety of practices including, but not limited to, Schlager, Volksmusik, folk, Krautrock, punk, heavy metal, chanson, classical music, operetta, musical, ballet, dance theatre, travesty and drag, modern dance, ballroom dance and folk dance. Artists under scrutiny may range from Richard Wagner to Andreas Gabalier, Falco, Ton Steine Scherben, Lana Kaiser, Tanztheater Wuppertal, Gustav Gründgens, Harald Kreutzberg and Rudolf von Laban, Swings und Schlurfs, Gammlern und Punks, Roberto Blanco and Kerstin Ott.

In particular, prospective presenters should consider intersections between various iterations of masculinity and pressing questions of European cultural history in the twentieth and twenty-first century, to wit: The construction and subversion of national and/or sexual identities and racist discourses.  

  • How does the performance of masculinities in the German-speaking regions intersect with issues such as the nation/nationalism and racism?
  • In so doing, how does this performance confront or affirm normative assumptions around sexual identity?
  • How are expectations and crises of masculinity constructed, rehearsed or subverted through the practice of diverse music and performance cultures?
  • What is/was the role of folk music and folk dance in the different German-speaking nation-states (FRG, GDR, Switzerland, Austria), and how are these practices encoded with gendered meanings?
  • What images/ideals of the body are tethered to the discourses of intangible cultural heritage?
  • How do projections of alterity overlap with racist and nationalist discourses in music and dramatic/theatre performances?
  • What are the different ways in which racialized masculinities can be sexualized and put into the service of the nation?
  • How do nationalism and genius cult intersect in the reception of twentieth- and twenty-first century art music?
  • Which imaginaries of migrant masculinity were fashioned in post-war European popular music(s) and dance film(s)?
  • What is the relationship between queer masculinities and nationalism, and how is this relationship shaped by dis-/abilities?

The keynote lecture will be delivered by Florian Heesch (University of Siegen).

This call for papers explicitly addresses early-career researchers in (ethno-)musicology, theater, performance and dance studies, cultural studies, history, queer studies and gender studies. Please direct paper proposals in the form of a short abstract (approx. 2.500 characters, incl. spaces) and a short bio (approx. 1.000 characters), by the deadline of August 31, 2022, to: (he/him) (he/him)

The symposium will be held in German and English. Notifications regarding accepted contributions will be circulated in November. Travel and accommodation expenses will be reimbursed for presenters, subject to financing. In the interest of sustainability, the possibility of virtual/digital participation is also envisioned. On-site childcare will also be provided.  

In the meanwhile, the organisers are available to answer any queries that may arise.