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

Gathering Diversities, Sounding Justice

Posted: October 2nd, 2017 | Filed under: Calls for Papers, IASPM Conferences | No Comments »

IASPM-Canada Annual Conference
University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan
May 27-29, 2018

Submission deadline:  November 30, 2017

The 2018 IASPM-CA annual conference will take place at the University of Regina from May 27-29 in conjunction with the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, which has announced “Gathering Diversities” as its theme (the Congress theme is described at https://www.uregina.ca/congress2018/theme.html). In conversation with this broader theme, IASPM-CA encourages participants to explore questions concerning popular music, its aims and claims regarding diversity, and its impact in promoting equity in a wide range of contexts and scenes. Diversity has long been a stated goal for institutions, organizations, and communities of all types, yet diversity remains a complex and contested issue, particularly in the field of popular music. To what extent does popular music productively model and promote diversity, and to what extent does diversity extend beyond surface appearances to institutional structures? To what extent is diversity in itself a laudable goal if not accompanied by equity and social justice? How do popular music and popular music studies either promote or impede diversity, equity, and social justice?

The IASPM-CA program committee welcomes proposals for individual papers or panels on all popular music topics, but is particularly interested in proposals that address issues surrounding diversity in popular culture from a variety of angles, including but not limited to:

“Gathering”: Popular music and diverse communities

Popular music has often been celebrated as a force that can bring together people of diverse backgrounds, whether through music festivals, dance clubs, radio and television programming, online music communities, concerts, or other means.

  • How do musicians and audiences engage music to reach across social and cultural barriers, to what ends, and with what impacts?
  • What constitutes a diverse audience? Who is (or has been) included, and who is (or has been) left out?
  • How might popular music facilitate the building and strengthening of diverse, equitable, and just communities? How might it fail?
  • How do music venues, as well as the cities in which they are situated, facilitate or stifle the building of more diverse communities, whether through architecture, security policies, event pricing, venue restrictions, municipal ordinances, urban planning, or other factors?

“Dialogue”: Cross-cultural ensembles and collaborations

In an increasingly connected world, popular musicians from different cultural backgrounds collaborate in different ways.

  • How do musicians model diversity in practice, for what purposes, and to what effect?
  • What are the social, cultural, racial, economic, political, and/or musical dynamics involved in intercultural collaboration, and how do musicians negotiate these dynamics, particularly when there are imbalances in social, cultural, economic, or political power among the individuals or groups collaborating?
  • How have radio, television, and online programs or platforms fostered and/or hindered musical collaboration across social and cultural boundaries, and to what effect?

“Diversity’s Opposite”: Popular music and homogeneity

Diversity’s opposite, homogeneity, has been a persistent force in popular music history, whether or not it has been consciously pursued or constructed.

  • How is popular music used to promote homogeneity and sameness, and what are the ramifications? How might musicians, unwittingly or not, promote or reify sameness?
  • How do music industry practices promote or subvert homogeneity, whether through the development radio formats, television programming, artist branding, replicating successful songwriting or production “formulae,” developing genre or style designations, pursuing marketing strategies, defining sales chart categories, or other music industry practices?
  • At a time when white nationalist groups have become more prevalent, how does popular music promote or challenge white supremacist movements and the ideologies upon which they are based?

“Diversity in the Academy”: Intellectual diversity and ethics in popular music studies

Multi-disciplinary from the outset, the field of popular music studies has engaged approaches from sociology, musicology, psychology, cultural studies, literary studies, feminist theory, media studies, music theory, philosophy, neuroscience, ethnomusicology, ethnic studies, gender and sexuality studies, and many others.

  • How might scholars integrate multiple disciplinary approaches more deeply to the study of popular music?
  • How might scholars expand the range of disciplinary approaches to popular music, as well as the range of music studied, beyond Western traditions?
  • How does popular music studies promote or stifle diversity from within institutions, and to what extent does popular music studies support or subvert the project of decolonizing the academy?
  • How might we, as scholars of popular music, enhance diversity in our classrooms, our research, and among our colleagues?

“Diverse?”: Critiques of the Discourse of Diversity

Recent critiques have framed diversity as a “white” concept (G. Hage, 2000; T. Cañas, 2017) that ultimately reinforces inequitable relationships. Foregrounded in mission statements, strategic initiatives, public relations strategies, and academic conference themes, diversity has been identified as a priority for public and private institutions of all kinds. But critics contend that this often results in the mere “staging” of diversity, which masks continued structural and institutional inequities.

  • To what extent can popular music go beyond the mere staging of diversity to facilitate structural change?
  • How can popular music studies contribute to further problematize and critique the discourses and practices of diversity?
  • How do nation-states use diversity in popular music as a means to promote particular political agendas, myths, or the status quo?
  • How do Indigenous voices relate to notions of diversity, which often privilege immigrant communities and their experiences?

Submission Guidelines:

In keeping with the conference theme, the program committee is especially interested in proposals in diverse formats. Abstracts of individual papers, workshops, performances and other presentations should be no longer than 300 words. Panel submissions should include a title and abstract for the panel (300 word max.) as well as titles and abstracts for the individual papers on the panel. All abstracts for a panel should be submitted together. Abstracts will be adjudicated individually so it is possible for a panel to be accepted but not an individual paper and vice versa. Each abstract should also include a short biography of the author (100 words max.) including the institutional affiliation, if any, and email address of each author. Each abstract should also include five keywords.

Submissions in French and English are acceptable. All submissions must be submitted as a single Word document with the author’s last name as the document file name. Do not submit your proposal as a PDF File. Proposals will be blind reviewed. The program committee consists of: Steven Baur, Chair, Robin Attas, Vanessa Blais-Tremblay, Line Grenier, Tiffany Naiman, Kip Pegley, & Daniel Stadnicki.

Papers will be limited to 20 minutes followed by 10 minutes of questions. Other presentations (panels, workshops, film screenings, etc.) will be limited to 60 minutes. All participants must be members of IASPM-Canada. Membership information is available on the following website: http://iaspm-ca/membership. For questions about the conference, contact program chair, Steven Baur ([email protected]), or local organizing chair, Charity Marsh ([email protected]).

Submission deadline:  November 30, 2017

Send submissions to:  [email protected]

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