[Smt-talk] Advocating for the Discipline

Peles, Stephen speles at ua.edu
Tue Apr 8 13:47:06 PDT 2014


At the risk of prolonging a potentially unproductive discussion, I note two matters of fact which are relevant to the original question, namely the question of the use of society e-mail lists by the administrations of AMS and SMT for purposes of advocacy.

(1)  Neither SMT nor AMS is a trade union.  They are learned societies.  As such their principal allegiance is to the disciplines they represent.  Advocacy for those disciplines is part of their remit.

Both societies are constituent members of the American Council of Learned Societies, the web-site of which offers the following explanation on their “About” page.

“ACLS, a private, nonprofit federation of 71 national scholarly organizations, is the preeminent representative of American scholarship in the humanities and related social sciences”

Notice:  representative of American scholarship, not representative of American scholars.

Closer to home, here’s the very first sentence from the SMT’s website homepage description of the Society’s purpose (note the verb):

“The Society for Music Theory (SMT) promotes music theory as a scholarly and pedagogical discipline.”

(2)  Membership in either society is a voluntary act on the part of the individual member.


Stephen Peles, Ph.D.

University of Alabama

School of Music

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