Music, Sound and Liminality

With Keynote Speaker Dr. Katherine Meizel

The term liminality has been developed and applied within diverse fields including anthropology, cultural studies, geography, and education, wherein it is often associated with concepts such as performativity, transformation, transgression, subversion, power, marginality, and more. Derived from the Latin līmen, meaning threshold, liminality invokes in-betweenness, ambiguity, possibility, and uncertainty. Like sound’s constant ‘flux,’ liminality allows for transition and transformation in relation to concepts and experiences such as space, emotion, aesthetics, design, being, texture, and time.

Download the 2024 Program (PDF)

Poster for 2024 MCGSS Symposium

Photo of D. Katherine Meizel

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Katherine Meizel

A game-show panel tries to identify cartoonishly-masked celebrities after listening to them sing. Another panel decides who among a group must be the best singer, based only on lip syncing. Thousands of TikTok videos feature a bland digital voice that hides the posters’ own, or pass around a simulacrum of a voice whose original context has shattered into pieces that can no longer be fit back together. More than simply acousmatic, these televised or streamed voices demand that viewers attend to sonic and embodied presence and absence in new ways, to listen and imagine to something equally new that lives between the lines. This presentation will highlight how, in the 2020s, voice is heard and enacted as shaping liminal spaces and temporalities.

Katherine Meizel is Professor of Ethnomusicology at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Her book Idolized: Music, Media, and Identity in American Idol (IU Press) was published in 2011. The Oxford Handbook of Voice Studies which she co-edited with Nina Eidsheim, was published in 2019, and her monograph Multivocality: Singing on the Borders of Identity was published in early 2020. With the nonprofit label Little Village Foundation, she co-produced the album Raise Your Voice: The Sound of Student Protest to document the 2018 protests against gun violence. Her writing has also appeared in public venues such as Slate,, The New Republic, and The Conversation.



9:30-10:00 Welcome and Refreshments

Digital Bodies: Exploring Materiality Through Voice and Technology
Chair: William Echard

10:00-10:30 “Code-Switch: Exploring Multilingual Perspectives Through Music Composition and Speech-to-Text Technology,” Virtual Presentation Randall Chaves Camacho (University of Toronto)

10:30-11:00 “The Technologized Voice: Transhumanism and Radiohead’s Kid A (2000),” Christine Oppedisano (Carleton University)

11:00-11:30 “Hearing Voices: Public Mourning and Use of Spirit Voices by Queen and the Foo Fighters,” Colin Pigeon Edwards (University of Toronto)

* 11:30-11:45 – Break *

Lecture Recital
Chair: Christine Oppedisano

11:45-12:30 “The Science of Creative Safety; Transforming Performance Anxiety by Understanding Our Bodies Through Polyvagal Theory” Cheryl Ockrant (York University)

12:30-1:45 Lunch (on your own)

Liminal Figures: Space, Time, and Identity
Chair: Jesse Stewart

1:45-2:15 “At the Threshold of the Underworld: Deep Time, Myth, Music, and Ecstatic Truth,” Virtual Presentation Sean Steele (York University)

2:15-2:45 “Somewhere Between Gangsta Rap and a ‘Heart’ Place: Listening to Thresholds, Liminalities, and In-Betweenness in the Contemporary Gangsta Rap Figure,” Justine Walker (Carleton University)

2:45-3:15 “Gender Subversion and Charismatic Resonance: k.d. lang’s ‘Big Big Love,’” Alyssa Fluit (Carleton University)

* 3:15-3:30 – Break *

Keys of Identity: Resonant Soundscapes
Chair: James Deaville

3:30-4:00 “The Growing Pains of Toronto’s ‘Little Egypt’: An Egyptian Diasporic Soundscape in Mississauga,” Virtual Presentation
Alia Abdeen (University of Toronto)

4:00-4:30 “Listening to Whiteness: Parliament Hill as Contested Public Space,” Gale Franklin (Carleton University)

5:30- Conference Dinner at Browns Crafthouse.


9:30-10:00 Welcome and Refreshments

Music and Method
Chair: Paul Théberge

10:00-10:30 “Kaija Saariaho’s Electronics: Reconceptualizing Authorship in Composer-Engineer Collaboration,” Roan Ma (University of Toronto)

10:30-11:00 “Individual Intention and Musicking: An Interdisciplinary Investigation by way of Autoethnography,” Tristan Zaba (York University)

11:00-11:30 “Singing ‘In Harmony’: A Critical Examination of Intersecting the Personal in Research,” Charlotte Stewart-Juby (Carleton University)

11:30-11:45 Break

Lecture Recital
Chair: Charlotte Stewart-Juby

11:45-12:30 “Footprint of a Record: Tracing “Casiopea” and the Global Web of an Independent Artist”, Cecilia Lopez (Carleton University)

* 12:30-1:45 – Lunch (catering provided) *

Sonic Encounter(s)
Chair: Lyndsey Hoh Copeland

1:45-2:15 “Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Sinfonia Antarctica: An Ecomusicological Reading,” Virtual Presentation, Ryan Baxter (Western University)

2:15-2:45 “Oratorio Resilience: Revealing the Hidden Christian’s Songs in an Island, Nagasaki, Japan,” Chieko Tanaka (Carleton University)

2:45-3:15 “One Step Forward, One Step Back: Chaakapesh’s Struggle Against Assimilation in Indigenous Opera,” Gabrielle Brochu (Carleton University)

* 3:15-3:30 – Break *

Keynote Presentation
Chair: Anna Hoefnagels

3:30-4:30 “Guess Who? Voice and Liminality in Popular Culture,” Dr. Katherine Meizel (Bowling Green State University)

4:30-5:00 Closing Comments