Welcome to The International Association for the Study of Popular Music UK and Ireland Branch

Embracing the Margins: Counter-Mainstream Sensibilities in Popular Music

Posted: October 7th, 2014 | Filed under: Calls for Papers | No Comments »

University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, March 27–28, 2015
Sponsored by the UNC Music Department and the AMS Popular Music Study Group

Keynote Speakers: Theo Cateforis (Syracuse) and Robin James (UNC–Charlotte)

What does it mean for musicians and fans to identify their own genre of popular music as marginal? What kind of cultural and aesthetic work is accomplished in this act? This type of stance has informed the politics and aesthetics of countless genres—from the more obvious manifestations of punk, indie, and experimental music to less-often affiliated traditions such as country, metal, jazz, blues, hip-hop, world music, R&B, folk, and electronic dance music. A sensibility of self-identified marginality can contribute to deeply ingrained notions of legitimacy, whether regarding musical style, social identification, spiritual conviction, or aesthetic values. Too often, however, studies of marginal musical identity have remained isolated within their respective genres or limited to the politics of social resistance.

This symposium, then, will make space for a cross-genre, comparative conversation. We invite studies from diverse popular music traditions in order to facilitate mutual dialogue and analytical perspective. What commonalities and differences can be observed among counter-mainstream genres? What conclusions can be made regarding the slippery connections between marginal identity and musical style? And what role do the actualities of social, political, and economic marginalization and dominance play in these musical practices? In bringing together a diversity of popular music research, this symposium will work to de-essentialize some of the dogma surrounding musical marginality and distinction, connecting theoretical approaches and destabilizing tacit assumptions of class, race, gender, religion, and politics. Rather than discussing whether a group or genre functions as marginal, we seek to explore how a stance of marginality can inform musical performances, recordings, discourses, and reception.

We invite submissions of 250-word abstracts sent via email to embracingthemargins at gmail dot com. The submission deadline is Wednesday, November 19. We anticipate notifying successful submissions by Friday, December 5th.

Organizing Committee: David Blake (Stony Brook), Joshua Busman (UNC–Chapel Hill), Brian Jones (UNC–Chapel Hill), and Mark Katz (UNC–Chapel Hill)

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