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Doctoral dissertation project of Paulina Andrade Schnettler

Carmela Mackenna Subercaseaux: Klavierkonzert, Berlin 1934, pp. 120-121. Colección Biblioteca Nacional de Chile, available at Biblioteca Nacional Digital. This and other scores by Mackenna are preserved in the Music Archive of the Chilean National Library.

“​​‘Not in my book’: Sources of knowledge and gendered occupational segregation in classical music in Chile”

“Why aren’t they known within the academy? Where is the work of Leni Alexander, Ida Vivado, Iris Sangüesa, Cecilia Cordero, Carmela Mackenna, to name a few composers, in the bibliography of the composition chairs? What is the musical or cultural reason for their works not to be in the concert programs, in the orchestration studies and in the history of music?” These questions posed by Chilean academic and composer Valeria Valle (2019) served as inspiration for my doctoral research, which is (for now) called “​​‘Not in my book’: Sources of knowledge and gendered occupational segregation in classical music in Chile”.

The results of the review and analysis of relevant primary and secondary sources have led the study to concentrate on understanding the origin of gender gaps and inequalities that can be observed at present in Chilean classical music, especially in the field of composition (e.g., Alarcón, 2018). It is what Fernanda Vera Malhue, Dania Sánchez and Isidora Mora describe as the emergence of a “patriarchal musical institutionality” (Vera Malhue et al., 2020), consolidated in Chile between the late 1920s and the 1940s. Critical in this sense has been the in-depth study of the mechanisms, primarily discursive, that contributed to the formation of a narrowly defined and predominantly masculine musical canon (e.g., Citron, 2007) in the country. From the late 1920s onwards, writing about music and music criticism (often exercised by male composers on themselves and their own peers) became one of the main tools to shape (and delimit) a ‘new’ national repertoire and what can be described as a new musical code of conduct (e.g., Bergeron, 1992, pp. 1-2) .The latter also entails the study of the role played by processes such as self-referential writing and “self-canonisation” (González, 2010), and the monopole of the public discourse.

The dissertation is also seen as an opportunity to produce knowledge that can be practically applied, contributing to a “transformation of gendered injustice and subordination” (Ramazanoglu & Holland, 2002, p. 147). This cannot happen without delving into the strategies of authorship and (self-)representation of the female composers of the period to cope with the scenario described above. What differentiates them from the strategies of their male peers? Where should one look for material traces of female authorship and self-representation? What were the spaces in which composition could develop? The answer to these questions may also shed light on the “hows” of female musical creation from the 20th century onwards, helping to bridge the way to the current state of the professional field of composition.


Practice phase

The decision to conduct this practice-oriented doctoral research is based on the recognition that “the nature of reality in western society is unequal and hierarchical” (Skeggs, 1994, p. 77).

My proposal seeks to make a social contribution, first by rising awareness about these “unequal and hierarchical” aspects, then challenging them. The latter is intended to be achieved through the design of an action strategy, at which core is the collaborative work with the organization “Resonancia femenina”: the first Chilean collective of women composers focused on gender equality and equity. Founded in 2012, the organization works towards the creation of spaces for the dissemination of the work made by women in areas such as composition, performance, research, conducting and teaching.

One of our ideas is to give shape to an interactive handbook or website highlighting critical aspects of gender-biased music teaching and training. The publication should consider key milestones and information on the history of canonical formations in Chile and the role played by women composers in it. It should be launched between October 2024 and January 2025.


Short biography

Paulina Andrade Schnettler (1986, Ovalle, Chile) holds a degree in Journalism (Universidad de Chile) and a master’s degree in International Media Studies (Deutsche Welle Akademie, Universität Bonn and Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg). She is currently pursuing her doctoral studies at the University of Cologne (2020-2023) under the supervision of  Prof.in Dr.in Gesine Müller (Romanisches Seminar) and Prof. Assoc. Ximena Poó Figueroa (Universidad de Chile), with a focus on gender and cultural representations in the field of classical music. Since 2021 she is a collegiate member of the a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School and holder of a Practice- and Profession-Oriented Doctorate in the Humanities awarded by the Mercator Stiftung (2023–2024). Between September 2017 and August 2018 she was also awarded with a scholarship from DAAD for financing her master studies in Bonn.

In Chile, she has worked at different educational and cultural institutions (Universidad de Chile, Biblioteca Nacional de Chile and Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes). 


Professional Experience

Paulina ’s interest in questions about the dynamics between gender and the cultural sphere comes from her experience as press and communications officer in institutions such as the National Library and the National Museum of Fine Arts (both located in Santiago, Chile). Based on her observations and experiences there, she decided to dedicate her master’s studies to the specific challenges women face in Chile’s cultural sector.

In her PhD research, she would like to take an in-depth look at the sector of classical music, from the perspective of gender and cultural studies. She aims not only to understand the reasons explaining current gendered occupational segregation in the field of composition, but also to challenge inequalities at their historical and cultural roots.

In parallel to her doctoral studies, she works as scientific associate at the Institut für philosophische und ästhetische Bildung at the Alanus Hochschule für Kunst und Gesellschaft, where she also serves as Gleichstellungsbeauftragte.

In recent years she has also worked as a freelance journalist for various Chilean media (newspaper La Tercera, Radio Universidad de Chile, Súbela Radio), reporting on different cultural events in Germany and in neighboring countries.

Contact: pandrad1(at)smail.uni-koeln.de  

Presentations (selection)

October 2022

“‘We are the Music’: Endogamic writing and the artificial creation of a male canon in Chilean classical field” (Presentation in the context of the conference “A doctoral seminar on the cultural study of music”, organised by the Finnish Society for Ethnomusicology and the Nordic branch of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM-Norden) together with the Seinäjoki unit of the University of Arts Helsinki)


June 2022

“‘She has never sought neither applause nor praise’: The symbolic limits to female composition in the Chilean classical field”. Vortrag zur Tagung „Musikalische Schrift und Gender. Praktiken – Diskurse – Perspektiven“. Institut für Historische Musikwissenschaft, Universität Hamburg.  


November 2021

“Of monsters, heroes and champions: Classical music and a male gaze as the standard of creation and performance.” Presentation at “The Realm of Possibilities: A Gender & Queer Studies Symposium” (organized by the Institut für Bildung und gesellschaftliche Innovation der Alanus Hochschule, Bonn).


November 2020

“What Happened to the Director? Occupational Gender Segregation in Film, Music and Creative Industries from the Perspective of Feminist Cultural Studies”. Presentation at “The Realm of Possibilities: A Gender & Queer Studies Symposium” (organized by the Institut für Bildung und gesellschaftliche Innovation der Alanus Hochschule für Kunst und Gesellschaft, Bonn).


February 2019 

“Gender equality within Chilean creative industries. Challenges & opportunities faced by female cultural workers”. Presentation at the Seminar “Thinking Chile: Sharing Ideas in Edinburgh 2019”. University of Edinburgh. 



2023: “Canon, Gender, Power: On the creation of a male canon and female strategies of authorship and self-representation in Chilean classical music of the 20th century” (Essay). In: Musikalische Schrift und Gender (eds. Dr. Gesa Finke and Dr. Julia

Freund, transcript Verlag, Winter Semester 2023/24.

2019: “Labor afectiva, techos y murallas de cristal: experiencias de las trabajadoras de la cultura en Chile” (Article). In: Revista de Historia del Arte y Cultura Visual del Centro Argentino de Investigadores de Arte (N° 14, ISSN 2313-9242). 

URL: http://caiana.caia.org.ar/resources/uploads/14-pdf/Caiana14R_Andrade.pdf 


Teaching activities

Sommersemester 2023: 

Blockseminar “Situatedness and situated knowledges: Methods and practices for situated and intersectional research” 

Aufbauseminar für das Zertifikat Gender Studies, Gender Studies Institut an der Universität zu Köln (GeStIK)


Sommersemester 2023, 2022: 

Seminar „Hands on. Erkundung der praktischen Projektarbeit im PhASE-Studiengang”

Modul PV: Praxisvorbereitung - In dieser Veranstaltung werden wir uns auf die Planung und Durchführung eines „Mini“-Projekts konzentrieren, das als Inspiration, Erfahrungsraum und Austauschmöglichkeit für die Entwicklung eines zukünftigen Praxisprojekts dienen kann.


Wintersemester 2022-2023: 

Seminar „Situatedness & situated knowledges. Approaching research from a situated, gender and decolonial perspective”. 

Studium Generale und B.A. Philosophie, Kunst und gemeinwohlorientierte Gesellschaftsgestaltung, Alanus Hochschule für Kunst und Gesellschaft, Bonn.


Wintersemester 2021-2022

Seminar “Das Zeitalter von Instagram und #Metoo: Zusammenspiele zwischen Gender, neuen Medien und Intimität”. Studium Generale und B. A. Philosophy, Arts and Social Entrepreneurship, Alanus Hochschule für Kunst und Gesellschaft, Bonn.


Sommersemester 2021, 2020

Seminaristische Übung “Deconstruct to reconstruct: building our participative gender conceptual kit”. Studium Generale und B. A. Philosophy, Arts and Social Entrepreneurship, Alanus Hochschule für Kunst und Gesellschaft, Bonn.


Wintersemester 2020-2021

Projektentwicklungsseminar “PhASE Journey” - B. A. Philosophy, Arts and Social Entrepreneurship, Alanus Hochschule für Kunst und Gesellschaft, Bonn.