Mission Statement and By-Laws of the
Ecocriticism Study Group of the American Musicological Society
November 7, 2008 (Amended November 13, 2009, and November 4, 2010)
The Ecocriticism Study Group (ESG) of the American Musicological Society (AMS) is a forum for exploring the intellectual and practical connections between the studies of music, culture and nature. In particular, the ESG seeks to integrate the study of music with the well-developed field of literature scholarship known as ecocriticism, which highlights the manifold roles of nature and environment in the creation and interpretation of culture.
The purpose of the ESG is to foster discussion on topics germane to music, culture and nature; to share resources, ideas and avenues for disseminating our work; and to provide a forum to further develop our ideas. Initiatives of the ESG include business meetings and a diverse array of intellectual sessions at AMS Annual Meetings; an Internet presence, including a bibliography and links of resources; an email list for continued discussion; and investigation of the ways scholars might respond to contemporary ecological concerns.
The establishment of the ESG came about after a number of intellectual exchanges over a five-year period, although scholarly and popular interest in the connections between music, culture and nature had been developing well before that time. Dialogue began at the panel “Musical Landscapes and Ecologies” held at the AMS Annual Meeting in Columbus, OH (2002). By 2004, interested parties held an informal breakfast discussion at the AMS Annual Meeting in Seattle, WA. The following year at the AMS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., an evening panel discussion took place. There followed involvement in a 2006 Symposium titled “Music and Nature” co-sponsored by the Society for New Music and held at Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY; in 2007, some AMS (and future ESG) members held a panel entitled “Ecocritical Developments in Musicology” at the Seventh Biennial Conference of the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment (ASLE) at Wofford College, Spartanburg, SC. Finally, the newly-formed “Ecocriticism Interest Group” held an evening discussion session at the Quebec City, Canada, AMS Annual Meeting, during which the Board of the AMS approved the Interest Group’s proposal to become a full-fledged Study Group in November 2007.
Article I. Name
The group shall be known as the Ecocriticism Study Group of the American Musicological Society, a non-profit corporation.
Article II. Purpose
The purpose of the Ecocriticism Study Group (hereafter, ESG) shall be:
1) to foster discussion among members on topics germane to music, culture and nature;
2) to share resources, ideas and avenues for disseminating our work; and
3) to provide a forum to further develop our ideas.
Initiatives of the ESG shall include but not be limited to:
1) business meetings and a diverse array of intellectual sessions at AMS Annual Meetings;
2) an Internet presence, including a bibliography and links of resources;
3) an email list for continued discussion; and
4) investigation of the ways scholars might respond to contemporary ecological concerns.
Article III. Membership
Membership in the ESG will be open to any current member of the American Musicological Society who requests it, either through attendance at the annual business meeting or through subscription to the ESG email list. (The email list will constitute an official total number of members for purposes of ratifying amendments.) Membership shall not be restricted according to employment or student status.
Article IV. Officers
1) Officers: The officers of the ESG shall be a Chair and a Secretary-Treasurer; additional officers may be created by amending these By-Laws. Officers must be current members of the ESG at the time of their election and must remain members throughout their terms.
a. Chair: The Chair shall act as the executive officer of the ESG, presiding over all meetings of the members and having general management of the affairs of the ESG, including the power to enforce all orders and resolutions passed by the members. Other duties may from time to time be delegated to the Chair by standing or ad hoc committees, and the Chair may from time to time delegate responsibilities to standing or ad hoc committees.
b. Secretary-Treasurer: The Secretary-Treasurer shall keep minutes of the business meetings, administer balloting and elections, and maintain up-to-date any financial accounts and information. Other duties may be assigned to the Secretary-Treasurer by the Chair, the ESG or its constituent standing or ad hoc committees.
2) Terms of Office: Officers shall serve two-year terms and are eligible for re-election once. No individual may serve more than two (2) consecutive terms in the same office. A term begins after the conclusion of the annual meeting during which the election took place.
3) Nominations and Elections: Elections will be held each year at the ESG business meeting during Annual Meeting of the American Musicological Society.
a. Nominations: The Secretary-Treasurer will accept nominations and self-nominations during a period starting eight (8) weeks before the Annual Meeting and ending two (2) weeks before the beginning of the Annual Meeting. If no nominations for an office were received in that nomination period, then candidates may be nominated from the floor at the ESG business meeting during the Annual Meeting of the Society, when voting will take place.
b. Ballots: Written ballots may be cast in person at the ESG business meeting during the Annual Meeting of the Society or ballots may be sent electronically to the ESG Secretary-Treasurer. Electronic ballots must reach the Secretary-Treasurer by 11:59 pm E.S.T. on the Monday preceding the start of the Annual Meeting. In the event of an uncontested election, no physical ballots will be necessary, and a voice vote will be used instead; see item 5 below.
c. Proxies: Members of the ESG may designate a proxy to vote on that member’s behalf during officer elections and any other matter that may arise during the ESG business meeting. The member requesting the proxy must notify the ESG Secretary-Treasurer in writing before the start of the business meeting; such notification may come electronically or on paper from the absent member, and if the latter then it may be delivered by the proxy him- or herself.
d. Election: Officers shall be elected by a plurality of the votes of the members present at the ESG business meeting during the Annual Meeting of the Society; a quorum (defined as 5 members, per item VI, below) is necessary for a valid vote (in the absence of a quorum, an electronic ballot, in the form of a run-off election, will render a vote valid). At the beginning of the election portion of the business meeting, the current Chair shall appoint a teller who, together with the Secretary-Treasurer, shall tally the election returns. In the event of a tie vote, a run-off election will be held electronically and completed no later than six (6) weeks after the Annual Meeting; the Secretary-Treasurer and original teller will collect and verify the ballots. Election results will be announced by the conclusion of the business meeting. In the event of an uncontested election, no physical ballots will be necessary (therefore no teller need be appointed), and a voice vote will be used instead; see item 5) below.
e. Voice Vote: In the case of an election in which a candidate runs unopposed, a voice vote may be utilized to confirm election of the candidate.
Article V: Committees
Standing and Ad-Hoc Committees of the ESG may be created by a majority vote at the business meeting.
1) Membership: Committees shall consist of no fewer than three members, and the terms of all committee members shall be specified at the time of appointment. All committee terms shall begin and end at the annual business meeting. The Chair of the ESG may appoint either just the committee chair (who will then solicit members) or both the committee chair and committee members. The Chair of the ESG shall serve as ex officio member of all committees.
2) Standing Committees:
a) Program Committee: The Program Committee will organize panels, sessions, and activities at each Annual Meeting of the American Musicological Society that serve and promote the interests of both the ESG and the American Musicological Society membership at large. Appointments to the Program Committee shall last for one (1) year and may be renewed without limitation. The Program Committee shall select one member to serve as Chair.
b) Electronic Communications Committee: The Electronic Communications Committee will oversee the Internet web page and email list of the ESG. Appointments to the Electronic Communications Committee shall last for one (1) year and may be renewed without limitation. The Electronic Communications Committee shall select one member to serve as Chair.
c) Liaisons Committee: The Liaisons Committee is made up of individuals who have professional affiliations with other relevant societies (e.g. MLA, SMT, SEM, et al. for music, or ASLE, ASHE, et al. for environment); their duties are to act as conduits for sharing information (conference announcements, etc.). The ESG Chair serves as Chair of the Liaisons Committee.
d) Newsletter Committee: The Newsletter Committee will assemble and publish a newsletter to disseminate more broadly events of and relevant to the ESG. The newsletter will be published electronically and in print. The Chair of the Newsletter Committee will be considered the editor of the newsletter. The ESG Chair shall appoint an editor in consultation with the members of Newsletter Committee.
e) Prize Committee: The Prize Committee will award an ecomusicology prize for the best relevant paper or article of the past year to be awarded at the annual AMS meeting. The Prize Committee shall select one member to serve as Chair.
3) Ad-Hoc Committees: The Chair may organize other committees to address specific needs of the ESG. Ad-Hoc Committees shall dissolve after completing their mandate or shall become standing committees through an amendment to these By-Laws.
Article VI: Activities
The ESG will schedule a business meeting annually during the Annual Meeting of the American Musicological Society. At least five (5) members must be present at the ESG business meeting to constitute a quorum. At or prior to the business meeting the Chair shall present a report of the group’s activities to the members, and all officers and standing and ad-hoc committees shall present brief reports. Business meetings shall be planned in advance with an agenda circulated to members at least one (1) week before the start of the AMS annual meeting. Any agenda items proposed during the meeting must be germane either to the rules of order governing the meeting or to the substance of the agenda; all other new business shall be considered only after the completion of the scheduled business meeting. The Program Committee shall plan a program of interest to the members for each Annual Meeting of the American Musicological Society.
Article VII: Amendments
Amendments to these By-Laws may be proposed to the Chair by any member, not later than two (2) weeks before the beginning of the Annual Meeting of the Society. Proposed amendments shall be made known to the membership via the ESG email list at least one (1) week before the business meeting of the ESG. Proposed amendments shall be placed on the agenda of that meeting for discussion, possible revision, and a vote. Approval by two-thirds of the members attending the ESG business meeting during the Annual Meeting of the Society shall be required to approve an amendment.