Can humanities and sciences
really work together?
Richard Parncutt
Centre for Systematic Musicology
University of Graz, Austria
SysMus Graz
SysMus12: International Conference
of Students of Systematic Musicology
Montreal, 26 May 2012
Do we need disciplinary categories?
Schwarz oder weiß Text & Musik: Oliver Gies (2009?)
Hörst du Beatles oder die Stones?
Guckst Du Tagesschau oder Indiana Jones?
Warst du Zivi oder beim Bund?
Bist du schüchtern oder drängst dich in den Vordergrund?
Bist du träge oder agil?
Depressiv oder mental eher stabil?
Trinkst du Wein oder lieber Bier?
Hast Du’n Reihenhaus m. Garten od. lebst du v. Hartz IV?
Hähnchendöner oder lieber Lamm?
Trennst Du Müll oder schmeißt du alles zusamm’n?
Fährst du Taxi oder mit dem Bus?
Sagst du Super-Dickmann oder sagst du Negerkuss?
Guckst du Arte oder Sat1?
Nennst du deinen Sohn Jean-Luc oder Karl-Heinz?
Gibst du nach oder bist du stur?
Liest Du regelmäßig “Bild” oder hast du das Abitur?
Schwarz oder weiß
Ja oder nein
Grautöne sind mir viel zu
allgemein
Bitte kein “Äh”
Bitte kein “Jein”
In eine meiner Schubladen,
da krieg ich dich schon rein
Abbreviations
• ID = interdisciplinary (-ity)
• H = humanities
• S = sciences
Disciplinary categories are necessary!
Experts and specialization are the basis of academic quality
Each discipline has its
own epistemologies
•
•
•
•
Ways of thinking
Ways of doing research
Ways of training future scholars
Ways of evaluating quality
Epistemology
• What is knowledge?
• Which knowledge exists?
• How is knowledge acquired?
ID collaboration is necessary!
due to expansion and specialisation in all disciplines
• The research literature is expanding
– total amount doubles every 20 years!
• Time/effort to become expert ≈ constant
– about 10 years or 10 000 hours (Ericsson)
Consequences:
Research is more specialized
Disciplines are SUBdivided
Experts confined to SUBdisciplines
Collaboration is necessary
ID is temporary
Disciplinary boundaries are fuzzy and fluid
ID research areas, e.g.:
• music history and computing
• music analysis and cultural studies
• musicology and psychology
…become new disciplines/paradigms, e.g.:
• computing in musicology
• semiotics
• music psychology
ID is relatively unusual
1. Communication
Different ways of talking, researching  misunderstandings
 ID costs extra time and energy
2. Academic infrastructures
Clear hierarchies are easy to organise
 Academic infrastructures impede ID
3. Quality control within disciplines
“Own” discipline seems superior to Others
 IDrequires academic openness
The rest of this talk…
Humanities and sciences
(a) in general
(b) in musicology
Bringing H&S together in musicology
(a) in general
(b) in my research and teaching
Sciences:
The study of nature
Natural, social, formal sciences
In French: Sciences dures/exactes
Basic sciences  their applications
• Physics  e.g. engineering
• Chemistry  e.g. manufacturing
• Biology  e.g. medicine
All three also contribute to war, climate change…
Humanities: The study of culture
In French: Lettres et sciences humaines
Ancient
• philosophy
• arts
• institutions
Enlightenment
• history
• languages (linguistics)
• cultures (anthropology, ethnology)
Modern
• diversity, power relations
Mostly benign - but can also be evil!
Humanities scholars are not “humanists”
Humanism
•
•
•
•
secular
religious
Christian
etc.
Humanist
• morally enlightened person
Scholar
• (humanities) researcher
“The two cultures”
The separation of H & S
(Charles Percy Snow, 1959)
Symptoms
• different knowledge, skills, thinking
• no common culture, feeling of belonging
• intercultural conflict and hostility – a “cold war”?
– H regard S as positivist and naïve
– S see H as romantic and impractical
Consequences
• intellectual specialisation  narrow mindedness
• decline of research breadth/quality  decline of education
• Less feeling of responsibility  neglect of world problems?
Separation of H & S
Relationships between disciplines in Austrian
research projects funded by FWF1992-2006
FAS.research (2008). Netzwerke der Wissensproduktion. Wien.
Who is your Epistemological Other?
Definitions
• Are you H or S?
Is your training and publications mainly in H or S?
• Who is your Epistemological Other “EO”?
Which academic across the H-S divide is interested in your research?
Questions
•
•
•
•
•
Think of specific EO colleague back home.
How often do you work with EO?
How important are EO’s ideas to you ?
How might your work benefit from EO?
Would you like to have lunch with EO?
H&S: 18th-century inventions
Sciences (Naturwissenschaften)
– Product of “scientific revolution”
• 16th-18th C.; Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Descartes, Newton…
– Term “scientist” was invented c. 1831
= member of British Association for the Advancement of S
Humanities (Geisteswissenschaften)
– Product of “age of enlightenment”
• 17th-18th C.; Spinoza, Voltaire, Rousseau…
– Reinforced by (German) romantic movement (18th-19th)
– Became a reaction against scientific positivism
Four national academic cultures
Dominant Western academic cultures, 18th-20th Centuries
Country Identity Features/stereotypes (still with us today!)
France
strong
• Rationalist philosophy
• Hierarchic bureaucratic structures
Britain
strong
• Empiricist philosophy
• Practical, straightforward, “objective”
• Laissez-faire capitalism
Germany
medium
• Naturphilosophie = holistic approach to S
• Historical orientation
• Humboldt-inspired Bildung
USA
weak
• Inspired by Germany – and reacting against it
• Massive investment in S since Pearl Harbour
 first “big S” (Manhattan project)
• Professionalization of academic societies
 scientism, peer review
R. E. Lee & I. Wallerstein (Eds., 2004). Overcoming the two cultures. Science
versus the humanities in the modern world-system. Boulder, CO: Paradigm.
Differences between H&S
tendencies and extremes
Kind of difference
Humanities (H)
Sciences (S)
1. Relationship between
researcher and object
close (subjective)
distant (objective)
2. Size of thesis domain
small (specific)
large (general)
3. Kind of discourse
narrative
(qualitative)
numerical
(quantitative)
4. Concept of truth
depends on context independent of
(relativist)
context (positivist)
Points 2, 3, 4 follow from 1  1 is the main difference!
But 1 is also taboo (general public thinks subjective=bad)
 Lack of open discussion of these differences
1. Aspects of sub- and ob-jectivity
1. The research object itself (mind vs nature)
2. Distance between researcher & research object
3. Methods: rules, logic, procedures, “discipline”?
4. Concepts: mechanistic vs organic
1
5. Agreement among researchers vs diversity
Example: modern psychology
• subjective wrt 1?
• objective wrt 2, 3, 4, 5?
2 3 4 5
?
research
object
researcher
2. Size of thesis domain
Size of domain within which a thesis is assumed valid
Humanities: small (modest?)
Specific issues:
• Ethnology: cultures, behaviors
• History: events, people, periods
Sciences: large (arrogant?)
General issues:
• Acoustics: How is sound transmitted?
• Psychology: What is emotion?
• Empirical sociology: How does society work?
• Computing; neuroscience: How is information processed?
3. Concepts of “truth”
Humanities
• Relativist (limited by researcher’s subjectivity?)
Sciences
• Positivist (enabled by researcher’s objectivity?)
S can also be relativist
• Relativity, quantum mechanics
• Kuhn: paradigm shift; Foucault: coupure épistémologique
H can also be positivist
• If questions have no answer, why ask them at all?
• If truth is relative to cultural context, what is culture rel. to?
H&S: Claims for superiority
S have completely changed our lives!
Enormous impact of technological innovations on everyday life:
– communications, transport, media, household appliances…
– weapons, pollution, overpopulation, less biodiversity, global warming
H address fundamental everyday issues!
– Humans without culture would not even be “human”
– Identity is a strong force in everyday human affairs:
Social interaction, family, economics, politics, war and peace
Conclusion: Both are right! Implications:
 Equal treatment of H&S by universities, politicians & funding agencies
 Epistemological equality! End structural discrimination against H
(e.g. use the word “science” correctly!)
 Balance H&S in musicology
Epistemological tensions
How did they start? Can we resolve them? benefit from them?
Academia
Sciences
Humanities
Musicology
Sciences
Humanities
 General conclusions about research, truth, knowledge?
Alterity in academia
in-group: sciences
• physical sciences
• life sciences
intermediate
• social sciences
• legal studies
• economics
out-group: humanities
•
•
•
literature
history
art and music
English “science” ≠ French “science”
The facts:
• Latin scientia = (all) knowledge (pre-H-S concept!)
• French science = (all) research/teaching (except lettres)
• English science = only objective, positivistic research
Evidence for skeptics:
Look up any “faculty of science” or “school of science”!
• generally includes physics, chemistry, biology…
• never includes sciences humaines: philosophy, history,
anthropology, geography, religious studies…
How could academics make this mistake?
Epistemologically naïve scientists dominate academia.
They think: Even H should use ‘scientific method’!
Translating “science”
Like many other words: the best translation depends on context
English “science”
• sciences dures/exactes; naturelles, sociales et formelles
La science, les sciences
•
•
•
•
academia or academe (=the academic world)
research (or research and teaching)
study (implies H, e.g. literary studies)
scholarship (also implies H, but ambiguous  bourse d’études)
Scientifique
• Noun: academic (e.g. “I am an academic”)
• Adjective: academic (e.g. “academic qualification”, “career”)
Académique
• academic (e.g. “academic question”, “academic ceremony”)
Maintaining power with ambiguity
How scientists try to control all academia
How historical musicologists try to control all musicology
S
= natural,
social, formal
H
= lettres et
sciences hum.
 science = all academic
research and scholarship
Which “science”
are you talking
about?
green = yes please!
red = no thanks!
What do you
mean by
“musicology”?
ethno

music music
ology ology
systematic
musicology
 musicology
systematic
musicology
 musicology = all research
about all music
Implications for researchers
Combine & balance approaches of H & S!
1. Balance subjective and objective
S: Expose and take responsibility for your own subjectivity
H: Partially objectify the object of research
2. Balance specific and general
S: Risk generalisation to facilitate application
H: Treat specific examples as “ground truth”
3. Balance narrative and numerical
S: Incorporate qualitative methods
H: Incorporate quantitative measures
4. Balance relativism and positivism
H: What is your main thesis? Evidence for and against?
S: Consider context (historical, social, cultural, political…)
H-S-ID
Extreme examples
Sciences: Chemistry
• Why is the research question important?
• What are the implications of the findings?
• In both cases consider history, society, culture, politics…
• Refer to literature in both H&S
(All this in addition to the usual scientific rigour)
Humanities: Art history
• Clear structure: Introduction, main part, conclusions
• Clear statement of question and thesis
• Clear statement of evidence for and against thesis
• Refer to literature in both H&S
(All this in addition to the usual detailed content)
H&S in musicology
•
•
•
•
H&S in definitions of music
Epistemologies of H&S in musicology
Alterity in musicology
Why promote H-S-ID?
Any attempt to define music, e.g.:
• an acoustic signal that
• evokes recognizable patterns of sound,
• implies physical movement,
• is meaningful,
• is intentional wrt (b), (c) or (d),
• is accepted by a cultural group and
• is not
lexical (i.e. is not “language”)
…implies that musicology must mix H&S
Epistemologies of H-musicology
“music”
research
topics
Historical musicol.
Ethnomusicology
score
composers, works
part of culture
performances
–
–
–
–
dead, lost
formal unity of works
musical autonomy
idiosyncracies
–
–
–
–
threatened, disappearing
cultural uniqueness
social function
typicalities
history; development tradition; change
target
“musicologists”
readers
authority scholar
ID
informants
inspired by: Jonathan Stock, Current Musicology, 1998
Epistemologies of scientific musicology
physics
physiology psychology
“Music”
instruments,
rooms, air
bodies,
brains
Topics
(examples)
modeling
processes
computing
experience, instructions,
behavior codes, samples
emotion
analysis
Alterity in musicology
in-group (“musicology”)
• history (Western, elitist)
• theory/analysis
• cultural studies
intermediate
•
•
•
•
•
ethnomusicology
pop/jazz research
sociology
philosophy
performance research
out-group (Others)
•
•
•
•
acoustics
psychology
physiology
computing
Musicological alterity: A benign example
Nicholas Cook (1998). Music: A very short introduction
Exposes musicological prejudice against:
• popular and non-western musics (musical Others)
• women and non-westerners (human Others)
Low awareness of own prejudice against:
• S-musicology (other Others?)
• non-Angloamerican musicology
Why promote H-S-ID in musicology?
• Relative size of musicological subdisciplines
• Sources of evidence in musicology
Why promote H-S ID in musicology?
Size of musicological subdisciplines
Ethnomusicology ≈ Historical ≈ Systematic
– IMS (“musicology”): 900 participants, mainly historical
– ICMPC (music psychology): 400 – only part of SysMus
– many ethnomusicological societies and confs
H ≈ S?
– amount of research
– number of students
– social relevance
Combining sources of evidence in musicology
(Sub-) Disciplines
Philosophy
Sources of evidence
Logical argument
Humanities, cultural studies
Personal experience and
(inter-) subjectivity
Informants
Historical documents
Ethnomusicology, sociology
History
Music theory and analysis
Psychology, sociology,
acoustics, physiology
Score analysis
Empirical data
Information sciences
Computational simulation
My attempts to promote
H-S-ID in musicology
Research
• Specific projects
• New infrastructures
Teaching
• Undergraduate
• Graduate
My relevant research projects
Psychology, acoustics, computing (S) of music theory (H)
Perception of musical structure: pitch, consonance, harmony, tonality, rhythm,
meter (with Annemarie Seither-Preisler)
Psychology, acoustics, computing (S) of music expression (P)
Computer modelling of expressive performance based on structural analysis of
the score (with Erica Bisesi)
Empirical sociology (S) of musical identity (H, P)
Music and the social identity of migrants in modern cities (with Martin Winter)
Two tripartite divisions of musicology
1. anthropological, historical, systematic
2. H = humanities, S = sciences, P = practice
CIM promotes ID collaboration
Each abstract has two authors representing H&S
CIM focuses on quality rather than quantity
• anonymous peer review of abstracts by H&S
CIM promotes musicology's unity in diversity
• all ID music research
• all musically relevant disciplines
Past CIMs
Year
Theme
City
Host
Director
2004
-
Graz
University of Graz
Parncutt
2005
timbre
Montréal
Observatoire international
de la création musicale
Traube
2007
singing
Tallinn
Estonian Academy of Music
and Theatre
Ross
2008
structure
Thessaloniki
Aristotle University of
Thessaloniki
Cambouropoulos
2009
instruments
France
Université Pierre et Marie
Curie
Castellengo
2010
nature /
culture
Sheffield
University of Sheffield
Dibben
2011 performance Glasgow
Centre for Music and
Technology
Hair
Future CIMs Please participate!
2017
Emotion and
expression
2015
Consciousness
& imagination
Shanghai, China
2014
Technology
Berlin, Germany
2012
History
Göttingen,
Germany
Belgrade, Serbia
Faculty of Music, University
of Arts
Res Inst for Ritual Music in
China,
Shanghai Cons Mus
National Institute for Music
Research
Musikwissenschaftliches
Seminar, U Göttingen
JIMS
All contributors have at least two authors
•
•
H + S +…
S+H+…
All submissions independently reviewed by H&S
Issues
• Regular
• Special (based on CIM)
ESF EXPLORATORY WORKSHOP
“Cognition of Early Polyphony”
Graz, Austria, 12-14 April 2012
10 H + 10 S participants
• Present research that addresses
the workshop theme
• Work across the H-S boundary
• Consider future project and grant
options
LECTURE SERIES
“Introduction to Systematic Musicology”
In 1st semester of Graz Bachelors Program in Musicology
Parent disciplines (subdisciplines)
• S: acoustics, neurosciences, psychology, computing
• H: theoretical sociology, philosophy/aesthetics
How to work with them
• Hidden truths about contrasting epistemologies
• MD & ID approaches
GUIDELINE FOR ADVANCED UNDERGRADUATE AND GRADUATE STUDENTS
The structure of an argument
Bringing together H&S in (musicology) research (training)
Problems
• S ignore context! And H!
• H lack standard structures!
Solutions
• S: Consider context!
– Historical, social, cultural, political…
– Background; implications
• H: Test a thesis!
– Clear question; list possible answers
– Clear formulation of thesis and evidence
Talk, Monday 3pm, Palmer lab, Psychology, McGill
Tell me if you want to come
Conclusions
The cold war between H & S
• Still strong both in musicology and generally
• Relatively easy to address and reduce
• Research benefits from conflict resolution
Criteria for “truth” and “knowledge”
•
•
•
•
consistent with different sources of information
consistent with diff. researchers (epistemologies)
honest and unbiased
useful
 A theory of “truth” should combine H&S!
 H & S should be balanced and should work together
Political strategies
H: Negotiate from a strong position!
• “I am what I am and what I am needs no excuses” (Gloria Gaynor) NOT “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” (Insane Clown Posse)
• Awareness raising about positive roles of humanities and the
necessity of subjectivity-objectivity balance in all disciplines
• Lectures, workshops, projects on equal h-s collaboration
• Conflict resolution within humanities to enable united action
• Development of research evaluation procedures in humanities
• Role models: trade unions, feminism, black power
• Political action (e.g. teaching strike) if ignored or funding is cut
S: Listen and support!
• Expose/include subjectivity, specificity, relativity in own research
• Explore/apply H-epistemologies
• Promote H-initiatives/concerns in S-infrastructures
Announcing: SysMus13
InfoMus Lab and Casa Paganini, Genova, Italy
Professorial hosts
• Antonio Camurri (engineering, U Genova)
• Patricia Conti (Conservatorio N. Paganini Genova)
• Raffaele Mellace (music history, U Genova)
Student organising committee
•
•
•
•
Edoardo Acotto (Torino)
Manuela Marin (Vienna)
Michelle Phillips (Cambridge)
…
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Can humanities and sciences really work together?