Purpose

Situated in the Department Music and Media at the University of Surrey, the Institute of Austrian and German Music Research (IAGMR) provides a much-needed opportunity to revise, rethink, and renew understanding of musical repertoire and cultural histories that have attained a largely unquestioned canonic status in music studies over the last century. The IAGMR recognizes that the time is therefore ripe for a re-evaluation of this status and the scholarly routes to canonization that have shaped musicological thinking over a long period. The IAGMR seeks to enable new interpretations, to re-contextualize and re-engage in different ways with both central and neglected musical repertoire, ideas, and themes emanating from the fertile cultural environments of German-speaking lands from the mid-19th to the mid-20th centuries.

Historical Scope

The IAGMR focusses its primary chronological scope on a period of perceived intense cultural and political turbulence embracing, for example, the 1848 revolutions, the Franco-Prussian War, the Wilhelmine German Empire, the establishment and demise of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the First World War, the Weimar Republic, Austro-fascism, the Third Reich, and the division into East and West Germany. This chronological frame is not rigid, however, and the Institute recognizes inclusively that historical boundaries are porous, sometimes artificially constructed, and multivalent.

Geographical Scope

Geopolitically, the IAGMR concerns itself with the music and culture of Germanophone lands which, in addition to the established national entities of Austria and Germany, may include regions with a strong—and sometimes politically troubled and controversial—historical connection to Austria and Germany: the former Prussia, Sudetenland, Bohemia and Moravia; borderlands or lands with at least partial German cultural identities such as Alsace, Tirol, Switzerland, Danish Holstein/Schleswig-Holstein, Silesia, and Galicia; lands formerly under the political control of the Austro-Hungarian and German Empires; and German overseas colonies and political affiliates (Africa, South America).

Objectives, approaches, and topics

The IAGMR seeks new understandings by interrogating the widespread practice of yoking Austrian and German culture together, and by treating Germanophone musical and intellectual culture as ‘marked’ via a process of defamiliarization and recasting of notions of historical and cultural centre and periphery. In a radical but historically aware spirit of exploration, the Institute encourages scholarship that rethinks accepted canons, explores new methodologies for reconceiving such repertoire, and opens up new avenues of research in neglected areas.

Within the framework outlined above, and through:

  • focusing on moments and areas of transition, crossings, hybridity, bordering, exchange, dissolution, coalescence, plurality, uncertainty, and ambiguity,
  • connecting researchers from different scholarly disciplines and bringing musicologists, cultural historians, philosophers, media scholars, Austrianists, and Germanists into productive interdisciplinary conversations, and
  • traversing linguistic scholarly barriers, promoting research from multiple cultural contexts, and making scholarship originally in languages other than English available to a wider global readership

the IAGMR aims to advance scholarship that addresses historical, analytical, and cultural issues of music in relation to the following by no means exhaustive list of topic areas:

  • Aesthetics (expression, representation, meaning)
  • Critical theory
  • Ethics (and ideas of truth)
  • Historiography (of Romanticism, Modernism, Expressionism)
  • Pedagogy
  • Performance and recordings
  • Reception history (criticism and journalism)
  • The archive (and empiricism)
  • Philosophy (idealism, positivism, materialism)
  • Politics and society (empire, nation, ethnos; propaganda, liberal humanism; diaspora, displacement; populism, nationalism)
  • Industrialization and nature
  • Notions of Heimat
  • Psychology
  • Other arts: literature, theatre, visual media (art and film)

Activities

  • Conferences and symposia
  • Study days
  • Research seminars
  • Roundtables
  • Themed conference sessions
  • Grant bidding
  • Publications (book series, edited books, themed journal issues, blogs, online discussion fora)