CfP: Future / Present. Current Practices in Pop Music Studies (Uppsala, Sweden )

Call for Papers: Future / Present. Current Practices in Pop Music Studies

19-20 June 2018, Department of Musicology, Uppsala University, Sweden

Deadline: 3 December 2017


From its first academic considerations, pop music has been conceptualized as a culturally embedded practice. Adapting theoretical and methodological tools from various fields, its study has transgressed disciplinary boundaries and emphasized the complex relations of the cultural, socio-economic, and political contexts of pop music. As Jaques Attali famously writes on the relationships between music and societal structures:

[Music] makes audible the new world that will gradually become visible, that will impose itself and regulate the order of things; it is not only the image of things, but the transcending of the everyday, the herald of the future. (1985:11)

With Attali’s daring proposition in mind, this conference seeks to provide a space for deep engagements in pop music and its various contexts. The conference aims to explore current theoretical and methodological developments in pop music studies across thematic and disciplinary borders, and to foster discourse surrounding future directions in pop music and its study.

We invite abstract submissions for presentations in the following areas:

– Current Pop Analyses: This theme seeks to explore contemporary analytical practices and is envisioned to foster discussions surrounding methodological practices in contemporary and future pop music research. Presentations may include applied analyses as well as meta-analytical theoretical considerations.

– Current Pop Theories: This theme seeks to map current cross-disciplinary approaches towards the study of pop music, which may include, but are not limited to Musicology, Philosophy, Cultural, Gender, Sound, and Media Studies. It invites theoretical and epistemological considerations that contemplate the particularities of their object(s) of study.

– Current Pop Sounds: This theme invites work that explores current sounds of pop music. Presentations may study specific artists, songs, or recent sonic developments and focus on particular characteristics such as voices, rhythmic patterns, or recording practices, while acknowledging their extra-musical contexts.

Keynote speakers:

Anne Danielsen (University of Oslo) – Author of Digital Signatures: The Impact of Digitization on Popular Music Sound (together with Ragnhild Brøvig-Hanssen).

Robin James (University of North Carolina at Charlotte) – Author of Resilience and Melancholy. Pop Music, Feminism, Neoliberalism.

As Attali argues furthermore:

Undoubtedly, music is a play of mirrors in which every activity is reflected, defined, recorded, and distorted. If we look at one mirror, we see only an image of another. But at times a complex mirror game yields a vision that is rich, because unexpected and prophetic. At times it yields nothing but the swirl of the void (1985:5).

This conference is envisioned as an opportunity for examining the ‘play of mirrors’ that is pop music together – for engaging deeply in the ‘swirl of the void’ by exploring current practices, and, possibly, for catching ‘unexpected and prophetic’ visions when exploring its relations with the world.

Submissions: Abstract submissions should be no longer than 350 words and sent to

In order to provide the biggest possible forum for all participants and to foster discourse and exchange, the conference is envisioned to include a relatively small number of engaging papers. Given this focus, abstracts will be selected on basis of their investment in the conference themes. We especially encourage submissions from scholars in early stages of their careers.

Please add a notation with the particular theme you wish to participate in. The deadline for abstract submissions is 3 December 2017. Presentations should be 20 minutes long and must be delivered in English. Applicants will receive a response regarding the outcome of their submission by the end of January 2018.


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