Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Battles with a professor

re: your proposed paper,

i am sure you have changed topic now. i hope so, because that one did not seem very viable. please try to come up with a topic more strictly within musicology. you can apply all your psychology/philosophy/theory knowledge once you have mastered writing a clear musicology paper. aim to address just one topic, not deriving a new metatheory. this is how to make a concrete contribution to our knowledge, and advance the discipline--one small piece at a time.

re: re: my proposed paper

I'm surprised you thought that the idea was a little out of the realm of musicology. Maybe I should make the case for it a little clearer. I'm trying to put a 'New Musicology' spin (so to speak) on the old Grosse Fuge problem by suggesting the possibility that an act of revision (within the composerly sphere) may be read as an act of autobiography, and the act of constructing one's own biography. I'm approaching the topic from a 'subjectivity studies' point of view, a forceful musicological topic that emerged since the mid 1980s, and exploded into multiple positions in the 1990s with Gender, feminist and queer musicology, headed by Lawrence Kramer and Naomi Cummings as two of the most forceful voices in the field today. Therefore I do not think the argument that I should stick "within the discipline" holds (first and foremost, is the 'discipline' of musicology really as autonomous and self-enclosed as we imagine?); either this is an act of professional angst, or worse, with all the contemporary work that has been done at the margins of the field, myopic! This does not mean I'm going to be brazenly theorizing without delving into history. History I must definitely genuflect to. This is an ambitious paper, yes, but that shouldn't hold me back from attempting it on the grounds of an idealized (even ethical!) prescribed method on how to make scholarly contributions to the field.

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