cfp: 2022 Pop Conference

2022 Pop Conference Call for Presentations

When I Think of Home: Race and Borders in Popular Music”

April 21-23, 2022

Many of us have been home, listening to music. Stuck there during the global pandemic, we have explored what home sounds like and what home means materially, culturally, and in ways that are utterly personal. As a place of security that feels less a given than before; as a right that many do not enjoy; as a nexus of struggle in a time of gentrification, economic transformation, conflict over indigenous homelands. For some home is a place it can be necessary to leave, and for others it is one, as Stephanie Mills made clear, it sure would be nice to get back to.

The Pop Conference is marking its 20th anniversary, and planning to celebrate in 2022 with a new home: the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. While pursuing a theme for this year’s conference, the programming committee kept coming back to the relationship of music and race – race as a form of categorization, as a basis of genre supremacies and the erasure of voices, legacies, race as a marker of the exotic or forbidden. The topic of borders and border crossings, too, both national and personal, emerged forcefully in the committee’s pursuit of a theme – borders as establisher and destroyer of categories, hierarchies, constructions of the Other. Both race and borders seem crucial to the discussion of music today and the time feels right to center these topics at the Pop Conference’s twenty-year juncture.  

For the 2022 Pop Conference, we invite proposals for papers, roundtable conversations, performances, sound walks of surrounding Brooklyn streets—we hope for a broad approach to a time unlike any other. We are looking for ways that the subject of home intersects with ideas of race and borders.

And, as of September, 2021, we are planning on doing this largely in person at NYU’s new facilities in Brooklyn. The conference will be a mix of live presentations and contributions delivered via internet. Therefore, we need to know in your submission if you will be able to attend and present live or will instead be submitting a pre-recorded presentation close to the time of the conference. 

Proposals are due November 15, 2021. 

Email RTF or Word files (no PDFs) to conference organizer RJ Smith at

Proposals are limited to one per person (participation on a roundtable does not count towards that limit). Individualproposals should be up to 300 words, with a 75-word bio. For multiple person proposals, include a one-paragraph overview and individual statements of up to 300 words with a 75-word bio for each participant. For roundtables, outline the subject in up to 500 words, include a 75-word bio and email contact for each participant. 

For all proposals, please describe how you plan on presenting in regards to style/format. And please tell us if you plan on presenting in person or online.

Questions? Send them to

2022 Pop Conference Programming Committee:RJ Smith (writer), Regina Bradley (Kennesaw State University), Markus K. Dowling (writer), Steacy Easton (writer & artist), Jason King (Chair, New York University’s Clive Davis Institute), Kimberly Mack (Univ. of Toledo), Amanda Marie Martinez (UCLA), Paula Mejía (Texas Monthly), Elizabeth Nelson (writer, The Paranoid Style), Jessica Bissett Perea (UC Davis)