Critical Theory for Musicology Reading Group

Critical Theory for Musicology is an interdisciplinary study group established in July 2015. Its aim is to provide a learning space for those interested in the ways in which critical theory can be applied to musicological sub-disciplines such as music analysis and historical musicology.


Forthcoming meetings:



Previous meetings:

February 2016:

22nd February, 6-9pm (Senate House, London, Rm 264)

Set text: Alain Badiou, "Ethics: An Understanding of Evil", chh. 1

January 2016: 

18th January, 6-9pm (Senate House, London, Rm 264)
Set text: Paul Gilroy, ‘Black Music and the Politics of Authenticity’, The Black Atlantic,(Harvard, 1993)  pp.72-110

December 2015

(‘Victoria’s Room’, Victoria Rooms, Bristol)
Set text: Foucault, Madness & Civilisation: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason – Chapter 9 and conclusion
-(optional extra): James Kennaway, ‘From Sensibility to Pathology: The Origins of the Idea of Nervous Music around 1800′, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, Volume 65, Number 3, July 2010, pp. 396-426

November 2015:

Set text: Judith Butler, ‘The Question of Social Transformation’ and ‘Can the “Other” of Philosophy Speak?’, Undoing Gender (Routledge, 2004) pp. 204-251

October 2015:

'Adorno' - 26th October, 7pm (Senate House, London, Rm 261)

Set text: Theodor W. Adorno, ‘On the Problem of Musical Analysis’ (Introduced and translated by Max Paddison), Music Analysis Vol. 1 No. 2 (Jul. 1982) pp. 169-187

September 2015:

‘Ideology critique in Twentieth-Century music’– 24th September, 7pm (Senate House, London, Room 261)

Set text: David Clarke, ‘Elvis and Darmstadt, or: Twentieth-Century Music and the Politics of Cultural Pluralism’, Twentieth-Century Music, Vol. 4, Issue 01, March 2007. pp. 3-45

August 2015:

‘An introduction to Lacan’ – 6th August, 5pm (Royal Holloway, University of London)

Set text(s): Slavoj Žižek, How to Read Lacan chs. 2 & 4, pp. 22-40, 61-79
Sean Homer, Jacques Lacan (Routledge Critical Thinkers) pp.81-109

July 2015:

‘Heidegger’ – 14th July, 6pm (British Library, London)

Set text: Heidegger, Being and Time, Introduction pp.1-15

May 2015:

‘Marxist aesthetics’ – 6th May, 6pm (Royal Holloway, University of London)

Set text: Herbert Marcuse, The Aesthetic Dimension: Toward a Critique of Marxist Aesthetics pp.1-88

April 2015:

‘Thinking about musicology’ – 2nd April, 6pm (London)

Set text: James Currie, ‘Music after all’, Journal of the American Musicological Society, vol. 62, no. 1 (Spring 2009), 145-203.

March 2015:

‘Marx’– 9th March (Royal Holloway, University of London)

Set text: Karl Marx, Letter to  Ruge, Letter from the Deutsch-Franszösische Jahrbücher, Kreuznach, September 1843 (



Please see the website or email for further information. Follow the group on Twitter:  @CTFMSG.