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

Sign o’ the Times: Music and Politics

Posted: September 2nd, 2016 | Filed under: Calls for Papers | No Comments »

2017 EMP Pop Conference
April 20-23, 2017
EMP Museum, Seattle WA

“I’d like to help you, son, but you’re too young to vote,” the Congressman says in Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues.” Music, especially pop music, tends to anticipate politics—young people give a dress rehearsal of what’s to come, building movements or prefiguring new worlds. No less powerfully, music is shaped by politics, from rules of copyright, drinking ages, and noise volumes to crises of war and social injustice, rents in the fabric. Music’s connection to politics goes beyond sloganizing lyrics; it organizes, stirs, performs possibility.

For this year’s EMP Pop Conference, we invite presentations that relate music, of any styles or era, to politics, however that’s defined. Topics might include:

  • Movements and Skeptics: anthems of unity and resistance cultures. Or not: music and bad politics, anti-politics, negation, outsider dissent and solipsism
  • New Worlds and Nostalgia: futurism, utopian and fantastic imaginaries from slave spirituals to George Clinton’s Mothership. Traditionalism, nostalgia, residual forces
  • State Politics: national and local policies; definitions of public and private; citizenship and internalized notions of power and control
  • Performing Politics: strategic choices of mannerism, vocality, sound, and style; politicians appropriating music; music and propaganda
  • Identity Politics: teen youth culture and shifts from worker solidarity to racial, gender, and sexual intersections; the radicalism of older artists
  • Transnational and Border Politics: musical experiences beyond the U.S.; immigration and refugees; sonic territoriality
  • Leaders and Followers: Individual artists as representatives and fans as electorate; celebrity and “reality” politics
  • Industry and Everyday Politics: categorizing, i.e. regulating performers; genre wars in country, rock, hip-hop, etc.; band politics and everyday interpersonal issues
  • Limits: factors preventing music from effecting change

Proposals are due November 8. Email conference organizer Eric Weisbard (University of Alabama) at [email protected] Individual proposals for 20-minute presentations should be 300 words, with a 75-word bio. For three-person (90-minute) or four-person (120-minute) panel proposals, include a one-paragraph overview and individual statements of 300 words with a 75-word bio. For roundtables, outline the subject in up to 500 words, include a 75-word bio for each panelist, and specify desired panel length. We welcome unorthodox proposals: ask for submission advice. Please include emails for all participants.

The annual EMP Pop Conference, first held in 2002, mixes together ambitious music discourse of every kind in an attempt to bring academics, critics, musicians, and dedicated fans into a collective conversation.

2017 Program Committee Members: José Anguiano (Cal State, Los Angeles), Sarah Dougher (Portland State University), Jasen Emmons (EMP Museum), Daniel Goldmark (Case Western Reserve University), writer, director, and activist dream hampton, Charles Hughes (Rhodes College), Tavia Nyong’o (Yale), Ann Powers (NPR), writer Laura Snapes, writer and music producer Andy Zax

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