Kendra Leonard and I will be editing this collection. Please feel free to share widely.
The dominant narratives of women in music have neglected, obscured, or minimized the successes and importance of countless female musicians who became the driving forces in the development and success of their genres. Instead, such narratives emphasize the rarity of the female musician or attribute her success to a male mentor, especially in the period before second-wave feminism. While recent research has uncovered the histories of forgotten women in art music, little work has been done on the careers of women in vernacular musics. For instance, Ruth Alice “Ronnie” Gilbert was a founding member of the Weavers, a long-time activist in social issues, and a highly influential singer-songwriter who is often overshadowed by Pete Seeger. Similarly, Carol Kaye of the California-based studio group known as the Wrecking Crew is responsible for some of the most iconic bass lines of the 1960s and ‘70s and is heard in more than 10,000 recordings. But she too has not received scholarly attention for her musical labor. Women have also made significant contributions to other roles in music creation; during World War II, women worked in the Gibson factory, producing more than 9,000 “Banner” Gibson guitars, some of the most valued instruments the company ever produced. However, the work of these women in developing and creating these iconic instruments went unnoticed until 2013, when scholar John Thomas uncovered the story. All of these cases remind us that there are numerous such hidden histories of women in music. This project seeks to demonstrate how recovering erased narratives can enrich our understanding of music and music historiography. We invite work that challenges the accepted historiographical model and examines the musical labor of women in vernacular musics of all types. We also welcome work that explores other facets of women in the music industry such as session work, engineering, administrative and support roles, and similar activities, as well as the role of female fans and audience culture.
Please send an abstract of 350-500 words to firstname.lastname@example.org by December 31, 2016. The deadline for full essays is July 1, 2017.