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Liberalism and Its Discontents: Music and Culture in German-Speaking Europe, 1848-1914

27-30 September 2018, Pittsburgh, PA
German Studies Association Meeting, Pittsburgh, PA,

Since the 1990s, critical exploration of the roles played by liberalism in musical life in German-speaking Europe has generated important new perspectives on the composition and reception of music in the late nineteenth century. Recent scholarship in history and cultural studies has, however, begun to paint a more complex picture of liberalism that has not yet been adequately engaged by studies of nineteenth-century music.

This seminar will bring together scholars and critical perspectives from a range of disciplines, including cultural studies, critical theory, history, German studies, and musicology, in order to broaden and deepen the discussion of liberalism and musical culture. The main intellectual goals of the seminar are: 1) to illuminate the full spectrum of liberal musical practices in German-speaking Europe between 1848 and 1914; 2) to explore the role of music as a cultural practice in defining and sustaining a liberal habitus; and 3) to consider how tensions endemic to liberalism—in particular, the tension between ideals of individual autonomy, rationality, Bildung, and inclusivity and social realities of economic privilege and exclusion—played out in musical culture.

Seminar conveners will circulate readings in the summer of 2018. Each participant will also write a position paper of 2-3 pages, due 31 August, that engages with one day's assigned readings. Seminar discussions will be based on readings, position papers, and pre-circulated discussion questions.

For further information, please contact any of the seminar conveners: Jonathan Gentry (jgentr30 -at-, Benjamin Korstvedt (bkorstvedt -at-, or Karen Leistra-Jones (karen.leistra-jones -at- A full description of the GSA seminar format is available at

Applications are due via the GSA website ( by 26 January 2018. Successful applicants will be informed by 5 February 2018.



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Mercredi 10 Janvier, 2018 0:23