Call for Submissions: “Music and Social Justice” Series

by Kathryn Beaton on October 11, 2017

From Plato to Public Enemy, people have debated the relationship between music and justice—rarely arriving at much consensus over the art form’s ethics and aesthetics, uses and abuses, virtues and vices. So what roles can music and musicians play in agendas of justice? And what should musicians and music scholars do if—during moments of upheaval, complacency, ennui—music ends up seemingly drained of its beauty, power, and relevance?

University of Michigan Press is proud to announce a new series, Music and Social Justice. Across academic and trade presses, this is the first (and long overdue) series calling for work in music and justice. This endeavor welcomes projects that shine new light on familiar subjects such as protest songs, humanitarian artists, war and peace, community formation, cultural diplomacy, globalization, and political resistance. Simultaneously, the series invites authors to critique and expand on what qualifies as justice—or, for that matter, music—in the first place. Music and Social Justice lends a platform for writers who wish to submit traditional scholarly monographs. The editors are equally enthusiastic to work with authors and artists who wish to unsettle the discursive norms of conventional academic prose in the name of rhetorical experimentalism, anti-capitalism, neurodiversity, and radical collaboration.

“On behalf of University of Michigan Press, we’re excited for this series: social justice is a very urgent set of challenges around the world,” says Editorial Director Mary Francis. “The series will cultivate and disseminate the very best writing on music and sound that will help confront these challenges.”

Regarding the impulse behind this venture, series coeditor Andrew Dell’Antonio, Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas-Austin, remarks: “We perceived a need for collaboration between people within and beyond academic institutions to build truly inclusive and accessible dialogues about why and how music matters. We want to provide opportunities for expansion and redefinition of ‘musicking’ as a discursive tool, seeking to empower voices, perspectives, narratives, and expressive actions to bring about new options for thinking, learning, and doing.”

On the choice of this particular political moment to launch Music and Social Justice, series coeditor William Cheng, Assistant Professor of Music at Dartmouth College, noted: “Now is better than later! So many issues of justice might seem especially pressing these days—DACA, fascism, nativism, black lives, gun violence, climate change, nuclear apocalypse, schisms everywhere. But for various oppressed groups, justice has never not been fiercely urgent. No luxury of postponing the fight, because the fights come to them; this series aims to ensure they won’t be fighting alone.”



[top row, left to right] Cheng, Dell’Antonio, André, Cusick, Hisama [bottom row, left to right] Madrid, Katz, McDaniels, Oja, Redmond.

Music and Social Justice has assembled an Advisory Board of eight terrific colleagues who are active and activist leaders in their fields: Naomi André, Suzanne G. Cusick, Ellie M. Hisama, Mark Katz, Alejandro L. Madrid, Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels, Carol J. Oja, and Shana L. Redmond. The Advisory Board will work closely with the editors to seek out prospective authors, open lines of communication, and review submissions.

Queries, ideas, and proposal should be directed to series editors William Cheng ( and Andrew Dell’Antonio (, as well as University of Michigan Press Editorial Director Mary Francis (

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