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

Music and Socialism since 1917

Posted: November 8th, 2016 | Filed under: Calls for Papers | No Comments »

Conference supported by the Institute of Musical Research
7-8 July 2017Department of Music, University of Nottingham

Keynote: Eric Drott (University of Texas at Austin): ‘Music and Socialism: Past, Present and Future’
Convenor: Danijela Špirić-Beard (IMR Early Career Fellow, Royal Holloway)

Conference committee: Robert Adlington (University of Nottingham), Pauline Fairclough (University of Bristol), Elaine Kelly (The University of Edinburgh) and John Street (University of East Anglia)

Call for proposals

The rise of Occupy, Podemos, Syriza, Bernie Sanders and Corbynism for many indicates the emergence of twenty-first century socialism, but despite this renewed interest, the concept of socialism continues to receive little attention in musicological discourse. Marking the centenary of the Russian Revolution, this conference will examine how music and socialism have been articulated at various historical and sociopolitical junctures, focusing on how composers and musicians have voiced their political engagement since 1917.

In contrast to the implicit radicalism of communism, socialism was initially championed as the more moderate and democratic means of effecting social change. The aim of this conference is to open up a dialogue between the creative and transformative inroads that socialism has made through music over the last hundred years, and the more adverse appropriation of music and socialist ideology by totalitarian regimes. The conference will challenge the semantic confusion over socialism and communism, and generate a more global understanding of socialism as an impulse that resonates beyond the Cold-War polarisation, and across many different cultures, societies and political systems.

The conference seeks to address (but is not limited to) the following themes:

  • What constitutes socialist music?
  • Rethinking Marx and critical theory
  • Music, protest, democracy: between moral imperative and social action
  • Composing socialism: mass communication and intellectual experimentation
  • Rethinking music in the Cold War: towards socialist commonalities
  • Pop and socialism
  • Sounding socialism on screen
  • Economy, capitalism and the music industry
  • Music and postsocialism
  • Music in socially engaged projects
  • Social engagement or political commitment: liberals, radicals, progressives
  • Socialist or social?


We invite proposals for both individual papers and themed panels (3−4 speakers).

– Individual abstracts (250 words)

– Panels should include individual abstracts (250 words) and a short description of the proposed panel (200 words)

All proposals must include the title of the presentation/panel, author name(s), institutional affiliation(s), email contact, technical requirements and a short biography (100 words). Proposals should be sent as a word attachment to Danijela Špirić-Beard at [email protected]

The deadline is 11 January 2017.

Applicants will be informed of the outcome by 15 February. Information about the conference (including accommodation and travel information) will be sent to all successful candidates by the end of February.

A conference fee of £35 will cover the cost of a conference pack, buffet lunch and refreshments on both days. A limited number of travel bursaries will be available to postgraduates and to early career researchers without institutional support.

A selection of authors will be invited to contribute to a multi-authored volume.

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