International Council for Traditions of Music and Dance

A Non-Governmental Organization in Formal Consultative Relations with UNESCO


9th Symposium

of the

International Council for Traditional Music
University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
July 13-16, 2016



Click here for the Conference website

Click here for the Conference program


The 9th Symposium of the Music & Gender Study Group of the International Council for Traditional Music will be hosted by the Institute of Musicology and the Center for Global Studies at the University of Bern (Switzerland), July 13-16, 2016.

Papers are invited that address gender studies within the frame of current global processes—migration, transnationalism, diaspora, cross-cultural and/or cross-genre fusions and hybridity. Papers that engage the major analytical frameworks from feminist, masculinity, and queer studies by placing musical data into the interdisciplinary conversations on theory are especially encouraged. Participants are also invited to respond to questions related to the topics below, while signaling the paths that gender studies should take in this new period of scholarship and globalization more generally. We invite proposals for individual paper presentations (20 minutes plus 10 minutes discussion); three- or four-paper panels; round-table discussions; and video presentations around the following themes.

Gender, Music and Sustainability

Increasing attention worldwide is given to safeguarding the intangible cultural heritage, with UNESCO taking a lead in recognizing, identifying and preserving cultural expressions that are threatened by global and local forces of change. Ethnomusicologists are recognizing that many gender-bound traditions face profound challenges, with heightened tensions around gender restrictions. What happens if a music tradition is so strongly marginalized that its survival is only possible beyond gender-boundaries (e.g. exclusively female or male repertoires can only be revived or sustained if the gender-designation is waived)? How do challenges to gender boundaries invoke issues of activism within the field of applied ethnomusicology? Are there gender-based genres that have become accessible to everyone within the context of the western-based world music scene?

Music Transmission and Transcultural Studies in Gendered Musical Contexts

Cultural and economic globalization have altered social networks and transmission processes of music as well as the cultural contexts of performance. How have global networks of exchange and trade affected music transmission processes and the flow of music across cultural and national boundaries? How has cross-cultural transmission affected new musical creations? How might we identify gendered performance within a transcultural context? Does gender equality manifest within a particular mobile transcultural context, and if so, how?

Studying Music and Gender Worldwide: Snapshots

A broad focus of the symposium is to (re-)address the following questions: How can we assess the impact of gender studies on ethnomusicology? Is it possible to identify a rising trend line in gender-balanced studies---national, regional or otherwise? In what ways has women- dominated research into music and gender affected music studies generally and how has women’s level of participation changed? Does the issue of sexuality permeate the concept of gender, and if so, how? How does research in other areas---such as film studies, communications or the visual arts---influence scholarship on music and gender? What other kinds of interdisciplinarity have been employed? How does gender figure in relation to dimensions of other social identities? What are the characteristics of gender representation owing to politics, poetics and economy of various genres of traditional and popular music under study? What is the relationship between research and engagement?

New research

Papers that address any other new research pertaining to music and gender are also welcome.



Bern is the Federal City of Switzerland and is located between the Jura Mountains and the Alpine Bernese Oberland. The historic old town center became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. The Institute of Musicology was founded by musicologist Ernst Kurth in 1912. In 2009, the department established a new study program on Cultural Anthropology of Music that is also part of the newly founded Center for Global Studies. Bern can be easily reached by train (1-2 hours) via the major airports of Zürich, Basel, and Geneva. Information about local arrangements and registration for the conference are available from the Local Arrangements Chair, Britta Sweers ( and at the study group website ( click into Music and Gender at the left column).