Call for Papers – 54th International Conference of Humanistic Studies

in Center News
April 29th, 2021

54th International Conference of Humanistic Studies

June 28, 2022 – July 2, 2022

Music in Africa and Its Diffusion in the Early Modern World

Centre d’études supérieures de la Renaissance – Tours, France

Call for Papers

The Centre d’études supérieures de la Renaissance of Tours will devote its 54th International Colloquium to the theme of music in Africa and its diffusion from the 14th to the 17th centuries.

While the historiography of African music in the field of Renaissance studies has often viewed it as an art form without history or sources, rudimentary, or at worst, non-existent, recent revisionist studies demonstrate not only the richness of a multifaceted musical heritage on the African continent but also the active role of Africans in developing or influencing musical cultures in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the New World. By focusing on the musical traditions of Africa (North and Sub-Saharan), the dissemination of African musical traditions, the circulation of African musicians, composers and musical instruments in other continents, this conference aims to bring together archaeologists, ethnologists, ethnomusicologists, historians, art historians, philosophers, theologians, anthropologists, and musicologists to explore in a multidisciplinary perspective African musical art and its influence on other cultures, from the late Middle Ages to the modern era.

Topics of interest

Several sessions will be devoted to the presentation of musical practices in Africa concerning, for example, musicians, composers, musical instruments (how they are made, instruments remaining in excavations and those preserved in museums, manufacturing traditions, etc.) and their uses, ritual and ceremonial practices, banquets, military music, music regulating work, music in the family sphere, music in texts of philosophy, religion, medicine, descriptions of musical facts in chronicles and travel diaries, iconography with musical subject-matter in African visual art (illuminations, sculptures, frescoes etc.), architectural spaces where music was performed, and musical encounters in Africa combining indigenous and foreign musical practices.

A second axis of reflection will concern the presence of African music outside Africa, for example: the circulation of musical instruments and the transfer of their manufacturing techniques and uses; the presence of African musicians and their impact on other cultures; the transfer of musical traditions specific to African worlds; the representations of Africa and race in visual art (frescoes, paintings, illuminations, etc.), in musical compositions, and in other surviving sources.

The fields concerned are archaeology, visual arts, ethnography, ethnomusicology (related to history), history of food, history, history of science, medicine and religion, iconography and iconology, musicology, organology, philosophy.

The contributions will be published in a handsome volume of the series Études Renaissantes co-edited by Camilla Cavicchi (CESR) and Janie Cole (University of Cape Town, South African College of Music) and published by Brepols.

Proposal format

Abstracts for papers (350 words max) accompanied by a short bio-bibliography (80 words max) should be sent in word or PDF format to both: and

Deadline for submission of proposals: 1 May 2021

Response from the Scientific Committee: 30 May 2021

The languages of the conference will be English and French.


Camilla Cavicchi, CNRS-CESR of Tours, France

Janie Cole, University of Cape Town, South African College of Music, South Africa and Renaissance Society of America founding Discipline Representative for Africana Studies

Scientific Committee

Francesca Alberti, CESR of Tours-Villa Medici, Rome, History of Art.

Zdravko Blazekovic, Research Center for Music Iconography, CUNY, New York City.

Camilla Cavicchi, CNRS-CESR of Tours, Musicology.

Janie Cole, University of Cape Town, South African College of Music, Musicology.

Bruno Laurioux, CESR of Tours, History and History of Food.

Concetta Pennuto, CESR of Tours, History of Sciences.

Intisar el-Zein Soghayroun, University of Khartoum, Sudan, Archaeology.

Nico Staiti, Università di Bologna, Ethnomusicology.

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