Call for Proposals

The Sounding Spirit initiative seeks proposals for editions of gospel songbooks or hymnals published between 1850 and 1925 representing Black or Native American sacred music making from prospective volume editors.

Deadline: Wednesday, May 15, 2019.

For more information, contact Sounding Spirit Managing Editor Dr. Meredith Doster at

Volume Focus and Editor Qualifications

Work on three Sounding Spirit volumes is currently underway. To complete our initial slate of editions, we seek proposals for two additional Sounding Spirit volumes. Sounding Spirit is particularly interested in texts that represent the sacred music making of African American and Native American populations in or with roots in the southern United States. In addition to works published in the southern United States, we welcome texts published outside the US South emanating from groups dispersed through the Great Migration or forcibly displaced along the Trail of Tears or through other campaigns of indigenous removal. Sounding Spirit proposed volumes should feature gospel music or a hymn singing tradition and have been published between 1850 and 1925. Words-only hymnals in the lined-out tradition or gospel songbooks with substantive nonwhite authorship or use are of particular interest to the initiative. We also welcome proposals that expand or critique the present framing of Sounding Spirit.

Applicants should have training and expertise in musicology, ethnomusicology, religious studies, African American studies, Native American or indigenous studies, or related fields. Volume editors will benefit from experience with source studies, editing, and contextualizing musical material.

Proposal Process

The application process begins with a preliminary proposal and proceeds to the submission of a formal prospectus. Prospective editors will first identify a specific edition of a historical text ideally suited for Sounding Spirit’s focus and frame. Prior to submitting a preliminary proposal, applicants should contact the project’s managing editor, Dr. Meredith Doster, to confirm the suitability of the proposed volume. At the preliminary proposal stage, prospective editors will submit a cover letter detailing the proposed volume’s relevance to the initiative’s framing, as well as a full CV. All preliminary proposal materials will be reviewed by Sounding Spirit’s managing editor, editor-in-chief, and a member of the project’s editorial board. Select applicants will be invited to interview with members of the project team before preparing and submitting a full prospectus to the project’s publishers, the University of North Carolina Press and the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship.

At all stages of the application process, prospective applicants are encouraged to consult with Sounding Spirit’s managing editor. For more details about the proposal and submission process, see the full call (PDF).