International Council for Traditions of Music and Dance

A Non-Governmental Organization in Formal Consultative Relations with UNESCO

12th Symposium of the ICTMD Study Group on Music, Gender and Sexuality

12 Symposium of the ICTMD Study Group on Music, Gender and Sexuality, August 2024

27-31 August 2024
Sunway University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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We will soon issue a preliminary programme!

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Call for Papers

12th Symposium of the ICTMD Study Group on Music, Gender and Sexuality Sunway University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

27-31 August 2024



Building on the previous symposium’s theme ‘resilience’, which saw intersectionality as an occurring theme, the broad theme for 2024 is ‘Trans-, crossings, and intersectionality’. We imagine trans- and crossings as all-encompassing categories, phenomena, and perceptions that go beyond, transcend, and traverse gender constructs and conceptualizations. Along with intersectionality, the 12th symposium highlights these entanglements in the study of music, dance, and performance practices. We invite papers that focus on the following themes and points of reflection:



  1. Music and Dance Movements in Relation to Gender and Sexuality

The past century has seen an intensification in the flow and exchange of ideas across institutions, via technologies, people, and culture. Through colonialism, migration, entertainment industries, and social media, art forms such as gamelan, tango, k-pop, voguing, and ‘western art music’ have undergone processes of globalisation, appropriation, and reinterpretation. These flows and movements of music and dance also take place in regional and local contexts, often described as translocal or glocal, in which cultural meanings and significance change, are renegotiated or resignified from place to place, medium to medium, and person to person. This theme examines flows and movements in music and dance around the world regarding notions, understandings, and concepts of gender(s) and sexuality(/ies).


    • In what ways do music and dance transcend or reproduce borders (geographical/ cultural/ social)?
    • What are the effects of local art forms becoming ‘global’ phenomena?
    • How do globalisation and consumerism shape or influence historically situated expressions of genders, sexualities, and desire through music and dance?
    • What is the role of digital media in music and dance in promoting certain ideas about what is ‘normal,’ ‘perverse,’ ‘desirable,’ and the notion of ‘public’ and ‘private’?
    • How do we deal with the migration of ideas and umbrella terms such as sexuality, taboo, queer, gay, lesbian, or trans* in relation to nuanced, localised concepts, and expressions?
    • How do localised and globalised ideas of gender and sexuality implicitly or explicitly travel in music and dance through the tropes of love, desire, and family, and through metaphors of sexual acts and body parts, sexualized gestures, mimicry, or sounds?


  1. Gender and Sexuality Definitions and Power Asymmetries


Cross-culturally, gender and sexuality shape social structures and relations that are defined through varied power asymmetries. Patriarchy, as a long-standing and globally present social structure, particularly in its entanglement with religion, nationalism, and politics, affects the lives of people of all genders, especially women and people beyond the gender binary. Various waves of politically and socially engaged feminisms and academic work in the field of women's studies and intersectionality have focused on the political and social conditions of women, while challenging the determinism and essentialism of gender definitions such as the very category "women" on multiple grounds. In the context of continuing graded gender inequalities (beyond an imagined gender binary), recent projects in the field of ethnomusicology show the persistent relevance and political necessity of studying, engaging with, and advocating for women and all people of marginalised experiences based on gender hierarchies, (hetero-)sexism, and hegemonic masculinity. On the other hand, matriarchy, matrilineality, and matrifocality are paramount in ensuring the continuity of music and dance around the world.


    • How do cultural customs, religion, and politics interact in the complexity of gender concepts, in shaping determinism, binaries, and normativity?
    • In what ways do patterns of patriarchy and more broadly, power asymmetry based on gender, affect contemporary music performers, practices, and scenes?
    • How do the recent discussions in feminist movements and women's associations reflect on the study of women in music?
    • How can we, as scholars, deal with the necessity to counter (hetero)sexist systems of inequality and navigate current divisive feminist movements by confronting deterministic narratives that re-essentialize the body, re-polarize the gender binary, and thereby reinforce gender-based power asymmetries? How do specific definitions of gender affect safety, rights, and citizenship?



  1. Indigenous and Non-Binary Gendering in the Performing Arts


Given the location of this symposium in Malaysia and Southeast Asia, this theme proposes a wide view of the performing arts to include ritual and other expressions of performativity in addition to the staged performer-audience form. It explores indigenous identities and related non-binary gender roles for the performing arts at large by considering community statuses, historical roles, and fluid positionalities existing within localized contexts, currently challenged by modern and global notions of gender and sexuality. Given post-colonial concerns from the second half of the twentieth century and current tropes of decolonization and diversity, the theme proposes an interrogation of indigenous (now considered alternative) and local gender


constructs reflected in the performing arts that take exception to the putative efficacy of epistemological binaries.


    • How are masculinities, femininities, and other forms of gendered expression embodied and/or constructed through performance and how may they relate to indigenous concepts of spirituality, religiosity, or ritual?
    • How do cross-gender(ed), transgender(ed), and drag performances represent, embody, or contest idealized concepts of gender and/or sexuality?
    • How do performers play with, subvert, transgress, transverse and/or transform cultural norms of gender and sexual expression?
    • How can cross-gendered performances allow for the continuation, exploration, and expression of a diversity of gender roles when cultural or religious constraints may limit social interaction between performers categorized by societies as ‘male’ and ‘female’?
    • What are the strategies employed in rethinking the developments of non- binary gender roles in the performing arts for genres, venues, and industries?


  1. New Research


Submissions that address any other new research pertaining to music and/or dance in gender and sexuality are welcome.


Abstracts and Presentation Formats:


Unless otherwise specified for a particular presentation format, the title and abstract should not exceed 300 words. All abstracts must be submitted in English (please contact the local arrangement committee for support before the deadline, if needed).


    • Individual or co-authored papers (20 minutes; maximum of three authors)
    • Themed panel sessions of three individual papers (20 minutes each) – title and abstract of up to 300 words per paper plus panel title, and up to 300 words outlining the general motivation/theme for the panel
    • Seventy-five-minute session in innovative formats – up to 1000 words outlining the form and content of the session
    • Roundtable discussion (60 to 90 minutes) – title and abstract of up to 1000 words
    • Lecture-performance (30 minutes)
    • Performances – please note the length of the performance.
    • Lightning paper (10 minutes) – to discuss a new research idea or to present a current project.
    • Close-listening session (20 minutes) – to present a recording for discussion and analysis with the audience.
    • Film screening – please note the film length.
    • Poster presentation


All presentations may be in English or Malay (with presentation slides in English).




Due Date and Submission


    • Submit abstract proposals
      • including a short biography (max. 100 words),
      • your contact information,
      • your institutional affiliation,
      • the theme, and
      • presentation format of your choosing

> no later than February 1, 2024

    • Please submit the proposal via:
      (Make sure to include the title of your presentation in the text box for your abstract proposal)
    • Decisions regarding proposals will be communicated by the program committee to the authors around the beginning of March, 2024.



Selection Criteria

    • The proposal topic is relevant to one of the conference themes, and/or of interests in music, gender, and sexuality.
    • The submission is clearly written and well organized.
    • The submission is an original contribution to the scholarship.

Programme Committee

Cornelia Gruber (chair), Phonogrammarchiv, Austrian Academy of Sciences
Linda Cimardi, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

Patricia Hardwick, Sunway University, Malaysia
Rachel Ong Shu Ying, University of Music and Performing Arts Graz
Mukesh Kulriya, University of California, Los Angeles
Iva Nenic, University of Arts in Belgrade

Symposium Venue

Sunway University is a private university located in Bandar Sunway, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia. The university offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes taught in English. As a member of the Sunway Education Group owned by the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation, Sunway University maintains international partnerships and collaborations with other universities around the world. The university is on a 10-hectare (24-acre) campus situated within Sunway City (Bandar Sunway), which lies in the conurbation of the Selangor state line and the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Sunway City includes a range of accommodations, retail, food, and easy access to Kuala Lumpur via public transportation.

More information about local arrangements will communicated along with acceptance letters in March 2024.

Local Arrangements Committee

Mayco Santaella (chair), Sunway University
Patricia Hardwick, Sunway University

Connie Lim, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS)
Clare Chan Suet Ching, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM)
Rachel Ong, University of Music and Performing Arts Graz (KUG)