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

Soundtracks of Our Lives: Music-Making and Musicians in Cinema of the MENA Region

Posted: January 19th, 2023 | Filed under: Calls for Papers | No Comments »

Organization: Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth
Categories: Popular Culture, Aesthetics, Cultural Studies, Film, TV, & Media, Mediterranean, Middle East

Abstract Due: 2023-02-15

Full cfp with details

Interactions between film and music in the MENA region are relatively understudied, partly because music often takes a subsidiary role in film analysis, while music specialists seldom turn their attention to film. Nevertheless, a growing body of work exists on music as a form of cultural resistance at times of political upheaval, such as during the Arab uprisings and protests in Iran when voices of past musical icons have reverberated with the revolutionary mood and musicians have become symbols against political oppression. The censorship and control of music production and consumption have also received attention. Meanwhile, film scholars have written on the importance of music to the development of movies in the MENA region, musical genres and the participation of singing stars in Egyptian cinema. However, these disciplinary strands are rarely brought together.

This special issue seeks to depart from most other studies through its interdisciplinary focus on the role of music-making and musicians in cinema and other screen media of the MENA region. Firstly, it aims for a sustained engagement with musical performance within film narrative. How does cinema represent the lives of musicians? When musicians act as versions of themselves, sometimes putting their bodies at risk by performing in public, what kinds of ethical and ideological questions are raised, given ideas of moral virtue and gendered rules of public and private space in the Arab-Muslim world which musical performance often challenges? Secondly, how do screen media render music as part of everyday, lived experience, woven into society and culture, becoming ‘the soundtrack of our lives’ during particular eras and helping to form communities of common feeling? How is music used as a means of narrating cultural history and identity? Finally, since music can support the status quo as well as expressing discontent, how do films engage with its different political functions and its role within a global capitalist economy?

Research themes (non-exhaustive list)

  • Musical performance and contexts of listening within film narrative, including negotiation of gender roles and rules of private/public space
  • Screen media’s ability to render music as part of everyday, lived experience and as a generator of communities of common feeling
  • The use of music as a means of narrating cultural history and identity onscreen
  • The cinematic representation of music as a site of hegemony and resistance

Submission guidelines

Authors wishing to submit an abstract (in French, English or Arabic) are invited to send it to the following email address before 15th February 2023: [email protected]

Authors should provide the following information:

  • An abstract of the article (approx. 500 words)
  • 5–10 keywords
  • A short, indicative bibliography
  • A mini biography (approx. 100 words)

The abstracts will be examined by the editorial committee, and the authors will receive an answer in end of February 2023. The articles should be submitted before June 15th 2023.

Scientific Committee

  • Hamid Aidouni, PR (Université Abdelmalek Essaadi, Maroc)
  • Karl Akiki, MCF (Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth, Liban)
  • Riccardo Bocco, PR (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies Genève, IHEID, Suisse)
  • Fabien Boully, MCF (Université Paris Nanterre, France)
  • André Habib, PR (Université de Montréal, Canada)
  • Dalia Mostafa, MCF (University of Manchester, Angleterre)
  • José Moure, PR (Université Paris Panthéon Sorbonne – Paris 1, France)
  • Jacqueline Nacache, PR (Université de Paris, France)
  • Ghada Sayegh, MCF (IESAV, Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth, Liban)
  • Kirsten Scheid, Associate PR (American University of Beirut, Liban)

Editor-in-chief: Joseph Korkmaz, PR (Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth, Liban)

Edition Editor: Shohini Chaudhuri, PR (University of Essex, Angleterre)

Bibliography (indicative, non-exhaustive)

Bouzouita, Kerim, “Music of Dissent and Revolution”, Middle East Critique, Vol. 22, No. 3 (2013), pp. 281–292.

Breyley, G.J. and Sasan Fatemi, Iranian Music and Popular Entertainment: From Motrebi to Losanjelesi and Beyond, Abingdon: Routledge, 2016.

Chion, Michel, La musique au cinéma, Paris : Fayard, 2019.

Dickinson, Kay (ed.), Movie Music: The Film Reader, London: Routledge, 2003.

Dickinson, Kay, “Re-citation and Resuscitation from the Archives of Arab Revolution”, Screen, Vol. 60, No. 1 (2019).

Frischkopf, Michael (ed.), Music and Media in the Arab World, Cairo: American University of Cairo Press, 2010.

Gil-Curiel, Germán (ed.), Film Music in “Minor” National Cinemas, London: Bloomsbury, 2016.

Guglielmetti, Yohann, Musique et cinema, l’union libre, Paris : L’Harmattan, « Champs visuels », 2020.

El Hamamsy, Walid and Mounira Soliman (eds), Popular Culture in the Middle East and North Africa: A Postcolonial Outlook, New York: Routledge, 2012.

Laachir,‎ Karima and Saeed Talajooy (eds), Resistance in Contemporary Middle Eastern Cultures: Literature, Cinema and Music, New York: Routledge, 2013.

Lohman, Laura, Umm Kulthum: Artistic Agency and the Shaping of an Arab Legend, 1967–2007, Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2010.

Rad, Assal, Politics, Culture and Identity in Modern Iran, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022.

Shafik, Viola, Arab Cinema: History and Cultural identity, Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 2016.

Tawil-Souri, Helga, “The Necessary Politics of Palestinian Cultural Studies” in Tarik Sabry (ed.), Arab Cultural Studies: Mapping the Field, London: I.B. Tauris, 2011.

Valassopoulos, Anastasia and Dalia Said Mostafa, “Popular Protest Music and the 2011 Egyptian Revolution”, Popular Music and Society, Vol. 37, No. 5 (2012), pp. 638-659.

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