Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Your Cart   |   Sign In   |   Join AFS
AFS Review: Calls for Submissions

CFP: Sounding Spirit: Scholarly Editions from the Southern Sacred Music Diaspora, 1850–1925

Monday, February 25, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Evangeline Mee
Share |

The NEH-funded Sounding Spirit initiative, a collaboration between the University of North Carolina Press and Emory's Center for Digital Scholarship, seeks proposals for editions of gospel songbooks or hymnals published between 1850 and 1925 representing Black or Native American sacred music making from prospective volume editors. Spirit Sounding Spirit will publish digital and print annotated facsimile editions of five influential but currently inaccessible books of sacred southern vernacular music. Sounding Spirit focuses on gospel music, spirituals, shape-note music, and lined-out hymn singing, documenting the critical role textual communities played between 1850 and 1925 in the constellation of vernacular southern sacred music genres that shaped the American popular music landscape. This initiative examines the roots and intersections of American sacred music traditions through richly annotated editions that harness the unique affordances of digital publishing. Sounding Spirit’s annotation-oriented approach to scholarly editing combines analysis of edition texts with their cultural significance among textual communities. Sounding Spirit tells the story of these textual communities through an interdisciplinary approach to scholarly editing that documents texts’ bibliographic and genre contexts while connecting the books to their contemporaneous cultural contexts. By foregrounding relationships among race, place, religion, and culture, Sounding Spirit editions will explore how these textual communities negotiated modernity, or created alternative modernities, by participating in their respective sacred music traditions.

Supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Scholarly Editions and Translations program and published by the University of North Carolina Press and the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship (ECDS), Sounding Spirit invites new readings and interpretations of critical sacred music books currently unavailable to scholars and practitioners. The initiative offers scholars of history, musicology, folklore, regional studies, and religious studies access to key texts for research and teaching. Sounding Spirit also appeals to a general audience, including contemporary textual communities using these and similar volumes of sacred music. Published digitally using Readux, the initiative’s editions present high-resolution digitized page images overlaid with accurate transcribed text and multimedia annotations paired with visualizations, apparatus, and critical introductions.

Volume Focus and Editor Qualifications:

Work on three Sounding Spirit volumes is currently underway: The Story of the Jubilee Singers with their Songs (1875), edited by Sandra Jean Graham; Class, Choir, and Congregation (1888), edited by Kevin Kehrberg and Stephen Shearon; and Original Sacred Harp (1911), edited by Jesse P. Karlsberg. To complete the initial slate of editions, They seek proposals for two additional Sounding Spirit volumes. Sounding Spirit is particularly interested in texts that represent the sacred music making of African American and Native American populations in or with roots in the southern United States. In addition to works published in the southern United States, they welcome texts published outside the US South emanating from groups dispersed through the Great Migration or forcibly displaced along the Trail of Tears or through other campaigns of indigenous removal. Sounding Spirit proposed volumes should feature gospel music or a hymn singing tradition and have been published between 1850 and 1925. Words-only hymnals in the lined-out tradition or gospel songbooks with substantive nonwhite authorship or use are of particular interest to the initiative. They also welcome proposals that expand or critique the present framing of Sounding Spirit. Applicants should have training and expertise in musicology, ethnomusicology, religious studies, African American studies, Native American or indigenous studies, or related fields. Volume editors will benefit from experience with source studies, editing, and contextualizing musical material. Proposal Process The application process begins with a preliminary proposal and proceeds to the submission of a formal prospectus. Prospective editors will first identify a specific edition of a historical text ideally suited for Sounding Spirit’s focus and frame. Prior to submitting a preliminary proposal, applicants should contact the project’s managing editor, Dr. Meredith Doster, to confirm the suitability of the proposed volume. At the preliminary proposal stage, prospective editors will submit a cover letter detailing the proposed volume’s relevance to the initiative’s framing, as well as a full CV. All preliminary proposal materials will be reviewed by Sounding Spirit’s managing editor, editor-in-chief, and a member of the project’s editorial board. Select applicants will be invited to interview with members of the project team before preparing and submitting a full prospectus to the project’s publishers, UNC Press and ECDS. At all stages of the application process, prospective applicants are encouraged to consult with Sounding Spirit’s managing editor.

Applicants should also review the Sounding Spirit website for detailed information about the project’s processes and deliverables.

The deadline for applications is Wednesday, May 15, 2019. To view the call for proposals, click here. 

Send any questions to the Sounding Spirit managing editor, Meredith Doster, at


Career Center
| Open Forums
| Online Store
| Renew
| Member Search
| Donate

American Folklore SocietySister Society: SIEF
Classroom-Office Building, Indiana University, 800 East Third Street, Bloomington IN 47405 USA

Association Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal