CALL FOR PAPERS: Francophone musicology in an international context —International symposium, Paris, 1-3 December 2022

This symposium seeks to take stock, both intellectual and human, of the place of francophone musicology in the context of increasing internationalisation. Drawing on a series of surveys led by the members of the Épistémuse network, it intends to objectify the feelings and experiences of French-speaking musicologists concerning the dissemination of their knowledge, their exchanges and collaborations with non-French-speaking areas, their trajectories and individual careers in a globalized world.

With this in mind, it will attempt to reflect on the future of francophone musicologies and on the strategies that could reinforce their visibility and scientific reach within the global international musicology community. Furthermore, this symposium will be an opportunity to discuss collectively the development of our practices in a context of increasing shift towards on-line exchanges, greatly accelerated by the massive adoption of digital tools as a result of the Covid-19 epidemic.

This collective reflexion will be based on four topics (see detail below, pp. 2-3):

1. Circulation of students and scholars betweenthe geocultural zones within and outside francophone territories;

2. Particularities of and strategies for the dissemination within the scientific world of musicological publications in the French language;

3. Role and impact of networks and learned societies on the structuring and evolution of musicology;

4. Future of  scientific exchanges in a digital context: new uses and new strategies for musicology communities?

This collective debate will use various formats during the three days (papers, round-table discussions, personal accounts, interviews, etc.), which is why we do not ask at this stage for a particular format, but rather content proposals.

The organisers reserve the possibility to ask proposers for formats appropriate to various sessions.

The submissions should be written in French or English and include

– a title

– a summary of the submission (around 2500 characters)

– the name and electronic contact details of the writer, as well as an indication the institution to which he/she is affiliated

Deadline for submission: 27th March 2022

For the attention of: and


1. Circulation of students and scholarsbetween the geocultural zones within and outside French-speaking territories

This focuses on a comparison of the global surveys on the circulation of musicologists at different stages of their careers, with reports of personal experiences. This research is particularly angled towards researchers at the start of their career, especially at doctoral level. Who comes to study in French-speaking institutions? Where do young French-speaking musicologists go on to study? What international exchanges encourage these moves? We will question the sources of funding, their institutionalization, their intent, and their impact on circulation. The question of circulation should also be considered at more advanced career stages (postdoctoral activity, university recruitment, research chairs of excellence, Erasmus exchanges, invitations, research grants, joint scientific projects, etc.).

2. Particularities of and strategies for the dissemination within the scientific world of French-speaking musicological publications

A number of French-speaking musicologists share the feeling that there is a lack of visibility of publications in French, as in other Humanities and Social Sciences disciplines. Nonetheless, no global data exists at present to support this impression.

The inquiry will focus primarily on journals, as a strategic place for the dissemination of scientific knowledge. This will involve analysing the use that is made of them by French-speaking musicologists, compared with other communities (choice of targeted themes, openness to texts not strictly scientific, local or national scope, economic models, etc.), then evaluate the impact of French-language musicology journals in the world (subscriptions, consultation, quotation, etc.). We will wonder about the space given to non-French-language authors, and to other languages. Conversely, it will be necessary to evaluate the presence of French-speaking musicologists in the major international journals.

More generally, the topic could address general publishing strategies at the different stages of individual careers, according to various academic communities: what are the requisite steps for an academic career? What kinds of publication are valued above others? What are the most common formats according to each musicological community?

Finally, we will address from different angles the question of the language of publication, and that of translation. Where is it – or was it, in the past – possible to publish in French? What are the policies concerning translation into French (corpus, financing, etc.)? What French-language work has been translated, into what languages, for the intention of what readership? These various questions will be followed by a prospective debate on the strategies for financing publications or translations.

3. Role and impact of networks and learned societies on the structuring and evolution of musicology

The national and international history of the structuring of musicology as a separate discipline reminds us how much this process owes to learned societies and, more generally, to networks, here intended to mean groups based on common intellectual interests and whose activities and exchanges can be more or less formalised. This third topic proposes to address the role and impact of learned societies and research networks in the current musicological world, and beyond, of the academic communities constructed around teaching and research institutions.

We will focus on the different types of networks that exist in music and musicology (national, international, by areas of specialty, etc.) and on the institutional structures adopted (research groups, learned societies, etc.) which today form a tapestry of multiple relationships. We will also try to define, via the activities of and the positions taken by these different networks, their impact on the development of the discipline (research fields, epistemology, institutionalisation, etc.) and the role of language in the epistemological developments carried by intellectual communities.

4. Future of scientific exchanges in a digital context: new uses and new strategies for musicology communities?

The Covid-19 epidemic, in generalising the use of videoconferencing, has accelerated a technological mutation within musicology networks. In addition to the move towards remote, virtual classrooms in universities, numerous scientific events have taken place in digital format. It is now important to take stock of these experiences and have a general debate on the uses that we wish to make of digital solutions and the place that we now intend to accord them.

It is therefore necessary to question the value of human and physical interaction at all stages of the creation of musicological knowledge. The feeling of belonging to a human community and culture is nourished by activities that are not always practicable in digital form. Videoconferencing presents numerous advantages from an economic and ecological point of view, it redefines borders by removing problems of distance, and allows the dissemination of knowledge to a wider audience. Nonetheless, it is also necessary to point out its limits in terms of learned sociability, inclusion of young scholars, and cognitive impoverishment, as well as to analyse its potential impact on funding policies.

In the specific case of music studies, moreover, one can wonder about how to maintain a high-quality audio experience or even direct access to the music, about the way of preserving spaces for the interaction of practice and theory, as well as about the need to conserve the human link that a concert experience creates. The symposium will be therefore a chance to debate the strategic use of digital technology for the future of francophone musicological communities.

Symposium organised in the context of the IRN Épistémuse,


Achille Davy-Rigaux (CNRS-IReMus), Catherine Deutsch (Université de lorraine-CRULH),

Yves Balmer (CNSMDP-IReMus), Frédéric Billiet (Sorbonne University-IReMus),

Esteban Buch, CNRS-CRAL (EHESS)

Scientific committee

Nidaa Abou Mrad, Antonine University, Lebanon

Rémy Campos, CNSMDP, France – Haute école de musique of Geneva, Switzerland

Nicolas Donin, University of Geneva, Switzerland

Michel Duchesneau, University of Montreal, Canada (Quebec)

Valérie Dufour, Université libre of Brussels, Belgium

Katharine Ellis, Cambridge University, United Kingdom

Anas Ghrab, Sousse University, Tunisia

Inga Mai Groote, University of Zurich, Switzerland

Hervé Lacombe, Rennes University, France

Hamdi Makhlouf, University of Tunis-CMAM, Tunisia

Jann Pasler, University of California, San Diego, United States

Christophe Pirenne, Liège University, Belgium