Diversifying Music Academia: Strengthening the Pipeline is a symposium devoted to the issue of diversity in music theory, musicology, and ethnomusicology. Led by Project Spectrum, a coalition of graduate students and faculty members, this event seeks to explore why many people marginalized by their race/ethnicity, gender, and/or sexuality continue to have difficulty in finishing graduate degrees, attaining gainful employment, and receiving tenure within all fields of music studies. Furthermore, the aim of this symposium is to develop concrete tools to inspire systematic change within these fields. To maximize participation and impact, Diversifying Music Academia will immediately precede the 2018 AMS/SMT Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas; additionally, some events will be included in the official AMS/SMT schedule.
The most recent membership demographics of the American Musicological Society and Society for Music Theory indicate that the organizations remain between 85 and 90% white. What’s more, covert and overt racism can be observed in quotidian interactions in music departments, in musicological publications, and on the music studies jobs wiki. Too often, when this reality is articulated, people in positions of power insist that the problem is in the pipeline and suggest that the solution must come from women, the economically disadvantaged, and people of color scholars themselves. By contrast, Project Spectrum contends that in order to adequately address music studies’ diversity problem, we, as current and aspiring music scholars, must take a collaborative and coalitional approach.
As evidence of racism and sexism in all aspects of North American life continues to mount up, music scholarship should seek to be a part of the solution. This symposium will initiate new steps toward that goal by offering mentoring and workshops to support underrepresented scholars, fostering relationships among a coalition of scholars dedicated to broad diversity in our field, amplifying the voices of those music scholars working toward diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in academic life, and sparking discussions that lead to long-term solutions within music studies. By facilitating these conversations, we hope to present the repair of our “leaky” pipeline as a necessarily collaborative effort and generate strategies for sustaining these efforts. Conversations about race, ethnicity, and intersectionality are most effective when both underrepresented and majority members of our various Societies are in dialogue; Diversifying Music Academia: Strengthening the Pipeline aims to create a venue in which we can bridge this gap and cultivate the strategies necessary to achieve our goals.