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

Special Issue of Popular Music History

Posted: April 11th, 2023 | Filed under: Calls for Papers | No Comments »

Popular Music (Re-)Writes History: Popular Music and the Construction of Historical Narratives 

This special issue seeks to investigate the role of popular music in constructing and negotiating historical narratives. Drawing on critical historiography (e.g. White 1973, 1987), which posits that history is a narrative construction of the past, the issue aims to examine the ways in which popular music contributes to the writing and re-writing of the past. Popular Music serves as an important arena for constructing and negotiating historical narratives, as evidenced by recent examples such as musicals inspired by historical events and figures, protest songs, and music as part of disinformation campaigns that aim to re-write – often violent – histories. Recognizing that historical narratives reflect the values, beliefs, and interests of those partaking in their construction, the issue invites critical exploration of these factors. Contributions may focus on a wide range of agents, genres, historical periods, socio-political events, and media platforms. The special issue further welcomes theoretical and methodological reflections on popular music as historical narrative.

We invite contributions exploring, but not limited to, the following questions:

  • How does popular music feature in the construction and negotiation of historical narratives?
  • How does popular music not only write but also potentially re-write history and thus contribute to historical revisionism (Tucker 2008)?
  • How are popular music’s representations of the past employed in the context of (dis)information campaigns, e.g., on social media?
  • How do contested historical narratives shape musical practices and vice versa?
  • How do historical narratives become embedded in, reflect, and shape larger systems of power?
  • How does “music as narrative” (Maus 1991) tell history, not only through text but also through other sonic parameters and performative aspects?
  • How does intermediality (Rajewski 2005) shape the narrative construction of history when popular music is featured in and intersects with other media formats such as music videos, documentaries, podcasts, etc.?
  • What are the present uses of representations of the past through popular music? To what aims are they employed, and to what effects?

Ultimately, this special issue aims to shed light not only on the ways in which popular music contributes to the construction and negotiation of historical narratives, but also seeks to reveal how popular music shapes our understanding of the past and the present.

Interested authors should submit an abstract (of no more than 350 words) and a short bibliography to guest editor Monika E. Schoop ([email protected]). The deadline for proposals is July 15th, 2023. Notifications of acceptance will be communicated by August 30th, 2023. Accepted articles (max. 8000 words) should be submitted to peer review by December 31st, 2023. The special issue is aimed for publication in mid-2024.

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