CFP: Ethnomusicology Review/Sounding Board, Special Issue on Pulse nightclub

The Sounding Board blog of Ethnomusicology Review, in conjunction with SEM’s Gender and Sexualities Taskforce (GST), invites submissions for a special issue on Pulse nightclub.

On June 12, 2016, queers of color were gathered with their friends and allies for Latin Night at Pulse in Orlando, Florida, celebrating identity and community amidst the sounds of salsa, reggaeton, and hip-hop. The nightmare that ensued was one of the deadliest manifestations of America’s gun crisis, a terrible reminder that people of color and queers are still targets of systemtic bigotry across the country.  

As music scholars of many ethnicities and orientations, we are called to respond to this tragedy. Many of us have dedicated ourselves to challenging oppression through the understanding and promotion of musical cultures around the globe. Whether we work with age-old traditions or contemporary popular musics, we share a belief that music is one of the most life-giving, world-making forces in human experience. The Pulse tragedy demands that we try even harder, open our hearts even more to the experiences of others, and speak out louder against bigotry.

The Sounding Board Special Issue will include blog posts addressing the impact of Pulse on our work as music scholars, whether we work in and/or across the disciplines of ethnomusicology, musicology, music theory, popular music, or other areas. In order to include as many voices as possible in the issue, individual submissions are limited to approximately 500 words. Music scholars who work in musical nightlife spaces are especially encouraged to contribute, but we welcome any and all reflections on the significance of music in the lives of marginalized communities today, and the role of music scholarship in the fight for equality.

Submissions might take a variety of forms, such as fieldwork vignettes, personal stories, discussions of specific musical pieces or practices, reflections on disciplinary methodologies, or proposals for how to grow activism in our work. Submissions may include an image and/or a link to audio-video content. Our goal is to create a multivocal Special Issue that will honor the spirit of the Pulse community, and advance the conversation around publicly engaged music scholarship.

Please send submissions to Sarah Hankins (GST co-chair) at by Friday, October 1. The Sounding Board Special Issue will launch electronically in conjunction with the 2016 SEM annual meeting in Washington, D.C. (Nov. 10-13). A public launch party and Pulse fundraiser will take place on Saturday night, November 11, at the Duplex nightclub in D.C.’s Adams Morgan neighborhood (details forthcoming). Please address any questions to Sarah Hankins ( or Pablo Infante-Amate (


"Sounding Board" is intended as a space for scholars to publish thoughts and observations about their current work. These postings are not peer reviewed and do not reflect the opinion of Ethnomusicology Review. We support the expression of controversial opinions, and welcome civil discussion about them. We do not, however, tolerate overt discrimination based on race, sex, gender, sexual orientation, or religion, and reserve the right to remove posts that we feel might offend our readers.