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Call for Papers
AMODERN 13: Affective Signals: Sounding the Curatorial

Edited by Klara du Plessis and Jason Camlot

250-word proposals due: 1 August 2023
Drafts of 3000-6000 words due: 1 November 2023

How is sound curated? And how does sound affect concepts and practices of curation? What are the affordances of sound recordings in material and/or digital formats for acts of curation? What are the political and ethical considerations of making archival sounds public? How might curated audio collections make us feel, and why? Hinging on the distinction between sound as a vibrational, audibly perceivable entity and signal as a representational entity of that sound made manifest through recording and its preservation, these fundamental questions amplify the tension between sound as abstract and immaterial, and signal as artifactual and discernible. This CFP invites you to explore concepts and examples of sound and their signals in relation to acts of curation, welcoming contributions to a special issue of the refereed, open access journal Amodern entitled, “Affective Signals: Sounding the Curatorial.”

The Latin root form curare means to care for. In recent usage, curation is applied to institutional preservation and custodianship of artworks and historical objects of value, usually in gallery and museum settings. This attitude is what Dylan Robinson cautions against regarding the colonial displacement and confinement of Indigenous artifacts and knowledges in static museum and archival repositories in “The Museum’s Incarceration of Indigenous Life.” Curation can also, however, be read as a resistant practice, one invested in undoing restrictive assumptions in favour of a critical questioning of methods of care, a refraction of authority from curators towards artists and publics, and the articulation of a dynamic, relational field of exchange. This is especially true when harnessing the distinction between curation and the curatorial: the former implying practical and organizational tasks, and the latter amplifying a dynamic field of knowledge mobilization and interchange. Aligning with feminist, queer, and decolonial methodologies that work against traditional assumptions and linearized labour, Carolina Rito understands the curatorial as “an area of cultural practice that articulates a critical response to traditional modes of knowledge production” (“What is the Curatorial Doing?” 45). Maria Lind similarly argues that curation can take “the shape of a function and a method, even a methodology” (Performing the Curatorial 12). As such, the curatorial opens its definition to “look away” from art historical objects of study and towards processes of attention and engagement, including agential possibilities for audiences and all persons brought into relation with curatorial labour (Irit Rogoff, “Looking Away”).

Curation and the curatorial, as acts of care, knowledge production, and a range of possible critical methodologies, can be productively transposed to the study of sound. For example, a huge quantity of analogue recordings of literary events are currently being digitized and preserved for online, and sometimes open access, use. Decision-making about preservation processes and labour, display design, searchability, and user interface, as well as ethics of data management, copyright, consent, and communication with contributors inform how different genres of such “literary” sound and signal can further be listened to, studied, and “unarchived”—to apply Camlot and McLeod’s term for archival materials that are “reconfigured, refused, and remade through critical and creative practice” (CanLit Across Media 3). This CFP invites new ways of framing the relationship between archival sound and its resonant curation for public audition, by considering the dynamic potential of sound to be shaped through curatorial grouping, visualization, installation, and mobilisation. It aims to make discernible processes of recording, preserving, visualizing, and activating archival sound, especially through the agency of curators, poets, artists, software designers, audiences, scholars, and more. In these terms, the sound archive is a moving one involved in “emotionally engaged, emotionally charged processes, which act upon their subjects and enact specific fields of knowledge and varieties of community” (Linda Morra, Moving Archives 1-2). Sound prompts new research approaches to document, collect data, activate signals, and substantiate scholarly argument with interpersonal responsibility and attention, developing from the singular and the linear to the relational and the intertwined.

The editors invite pitches for scholarly and theoretical articles in expository or experimental formats, welcoming contributions of 3000-6000 words, such as:

1. traditional critical essays applying curatorial theories or methodologies to archives of sound and their signals

2. descriptive profiles of specific sound archival projects, case studies, and/or distinct curatorial methodologies in practice

3. miniature digital curations of archival sound exemplifying a curatorial apparatus

4. interviews, conversations, and dialogically composed essays

5. curatorial introductions to imaginary collections or exhibitions, following Shelley Ruth Butler and Erica Lehrer’s concept of Curatorial Dreams

6. other critical forms you wish to propose

Contributions should explore questions about archival sound; signal; curation as care; the curatorial; affect; archival representation, visualization, and interactivity of sound; media; and/or method. Examples of such questions include, but are not limited to:

–What unique considerations or challenges arise in the act of curating archival sound?

–How do sound, archival practices, and the labour of curation intersect?

–What are the ethical and political considerations that arise in curating archival sound?

–How can the concept of “the curatorial” be harnessed as a resistant practice in the creation, preservation, visualization, and publicmaking of archival sound signals?

–What are the material challenges of curating archival sound?

–How does one curate sound archives with care?

–How do concepts from the interdisciplinary field of sound studies inform curation and curatorial theory and practice?

–What are the distinctive affordances of sounds (or sound signals) as curatorial objects?

–What are the distinctive affordances of sounds or signals as curatorial subjects, especially in relation to audiences and users?

–How are structures of hospitality initiated when opening sound collections or repositories for public engagement?

–How does sonic data incite interpretation and/or feeling? 

We invite proposals for contributions by 1 August 2023, with full articles to be delivered by 1 November 2023 if accepted. Proposals of 250 words should specify scholarly or theoretical context, method and argument, and the format and length your contribution will take. To be considered, please submit your work, along with a 50-100-word bio, to: 

spokenwebsymposium2020 [at] gmail [dot] com



Ongoing Call for Papers


Peer-reviewed articles are the backbone of Amodern. Each issue will consist primarily of peer-reviewed articles on a specific topic or theme.


To propose an issue idea to the editors, please send an email to with the following information: Title; Significance / impact of topic; Description of the issue (number of articles, interviews, type and source of images); List of likely contributors; Relevant expertise of the editor(s); Work plan (including timelines).


Amodern publishes two kinds of interviews: article-length pieces, which may be submitted for an issue following the regular process, and feature-length interviews for our eponymous series, “The Amoderns.” Feature-length interviews are not normally accepted over the transom, but if you have something completed and unpublished that you think might be appropriate for an upcoming issue, you’re welcome to make an inquiry.


Each issue of Amodern showcases a small body of work by a particular artist or collective. To submit work for consideration, send us a URL to your portfolio and a short statement about the nature of your work.


We are interested in new forms for academic writing, such as the technical reports for communication in the Humanities that Nick Montfort describes in “Beyond the Journal and the Blog.” The “Reports” section of Amodern is primarily a venue for unvetted interdisciplinary discourse that prioritizes flexibility, urgency, and sharability.

Special Projects

We will be using Amodern to showcase other kinds of materials as well: audio, video, and documentary/archival materials. If you have a proposal for such a project that works well with an upcoming topic and it’s within your technical skills to produce and our technical means to support it, we’ll consider it. Please contact us for further details.

The editors may decide, with advance notice, to experiment with other formats for peer review in a digital networked milieu, including open peer review. Notices of any such changes in our peer review process will appear here.


Amodern uses Chicago Style with endnotes (bibliography incorporated into the notes). Please format all submitted papers accordingly.

Submitting to Amodern

Please send all submissions and queries to:

submissions [at] amodern [dot] net