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

Legacies and Prospects: The Pasts and Futures of Popular Music

Posted: October 31st, 2018 | Filed under: Calls for Papers, IASPM Conferences | No Comments »

IASPM-Canada Annual Conference
Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)
May 24-26, 2019

For those interested in the study of popular music, the year 2019 provides a juncture to consider both the future and the past. We are on the threshold of the third decade of the twenty-first century, and can expect new and ongoing shifts in the technology, artistry, business, politics, and mediation of music and popular culture. Historically, this year marks several milestones:

  • 20 years since peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing disrupted long-established business models for the distribution and sale of music commodities
  • 40 years since the first commercially-released hip hop recording (Sugarhill Gang, “Rapper’s Delight”), a revolutionary new style that continues to define popular music’s present
  • 50 years since the Woodstock and Altamont festivals, seen by many as watershed events in the post-war history of popular music.

Thus, the time is ripe for anticipation and reflection. For our 2019 conference, held in conjunction with the Canadian Society for Traditional Music (CSTM), the IASPM program committee invites proposals for papers, roundtables and panels on the topics of popular music’s pasts, presents, and possible futures. Areas of inquiry may include, but are not limited to:

Popular Music & “Becoming”

As a medium, music is time-based and is always “emergent,” always “becoming.” What are the emerging sounds, relationships, technologies, generational shifts, and artistic strategies that are emergent, and give us a sense of what popular music might become in the near future? How could “becoming” describe the creative process, and help us theorize the emerging of new songs, sounds, scenes, recordings, genres, etc.? What role does the new and unexpected play in the histories and processes that unfold in popular music?

Histories, Narratives, Revisions

We invite papers that take stock of any turning points in popular music’s history, analyze and challenge any narratives about popular music which require reassessment or deconstruction, and/ or reconsider historical moments from new theoretical standpoints.

Popular Music Studies, Collective Agency & Social Movements

2019 marks 40 years since Frith’s The Sociology of Rock, 25 years since Brett, Wood, and Thomas’s Queering the Pitch, 25 years since Rose’s Black Noise, and just over 20 years since Whiteley’s Sexing the Groove, to name just a few landmark works that theorized popular music as social practice. We invite papers that take stock of popular music studies’ contribution to the study of social identities and movements, including race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, and ability. We also invite papers that look to the present and future, including popular music’s role in movements of Indigenous resistance and resurgence, Black Lives Matter, or #metoo.

Popular Music & Pedagogy

In the four decades since popular music emerged as an area of study in higher education, how has it been taught? What pedagogies have emerged? How successful have teachers and institutions been in integrating popular music into curricula? Where can or should the teaching of popular music go in the future? What place might popular music studies have in decolonizing curricula in higher education?

Popular Music, Age & Aging

Popular music’s association with youth once gave it a strong sense of currency and immediacy. But recent studies, like Bennett’s Music, Style and Aging: Growing Old Disgracefully (2013), call into question the idea that popular music’s reception, meaning, and economic impact centres on youth alone. Are relationships between age groups and popular music genres, media, and communities changing in the new millennium? Do continuities exist across popular music’s history regarding music and different age groups? How do genres themselves age?

Technology & Popular Music’s Future

What kinds of effects are emerging technologies – such as artificial intelligence, holography, or virtual reality – having on popular music? How are new entertainment and leisure technologies – like social media, video streaming, mobile devices, or video games – affecting popular music’s presence in people’s lives? Are these producing new synergies, or are these new leisure and entertainment technologies causing popular music to lose some of the prominence that it once enjoyed in popular culture?

Submission Process:

We welcome proposals on these and, of course, any other themes. We also welcome special presentation proposals that address student interests and concerns, professional development, and teaching popular music. Please submit proposals by email, as MS Word documents [labeled with last name_first name.docx] to [email protected] by December 1, 2018. Individual presenters should provide an abstract of no more than 250 words, and include author information (name, affiliation, email address, and 50-word bio). Panel proposals should include a 150-word overview of the panel in addition to the individual paper proposals, of 250 words each. Panel proposals should specify if they will require a 90-minute slot (for three papers) or a 120-minute slot (for four papers).

Please indicate in your proposal any special audio-visual or other needs for your presentation. We also welcome alternative presentation formats such as workshops and film screenings. You will receive an email confirming receipt of your submission.

2019 Program Committee:

  • Chair: Chris McDonald (Cape Breton University)
  • Committee: Norma Coates (Western University), Brittany Greening (University of Alberta), Serge Lacasse (Université Laval), Annie Randall (Bucknell University), Alyssa Woods (University of Guelph)
  • Local Arrangements: Martin Lussier (UQAM), Line Grenier (Université de Montréal)

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