cfp: Transformational POP. 4th IASPM D-A-CH Conference, 22-24 October, Paderborn

call for papers

Transformational POP

Transitions, Breaks, and Crises in Popular Music (Studies)

4th Biennial IASPM D-A-CH Conference, 22–24 October 2020

Paderborn University/Germany, Faculty of Humanities and Arts, Department of Music – Popular Music and Media

Organizational Committee: IASPM D-A-CH Executive Committee and Advisory Board +  Jun.-Prof. Dr. Beate Flath, Prof. Dr. Christoph Jacke, Manuel Troike (Local hosts)

Pop music cultures, in their entire breadth, are seismographs of social, political, economic, ecological, media, artistic, and technological transformations. In and through them, fields of tensions, disruptions, and lines of conflict become not only visible, audible and perceptible, but also communicable and thus, negotiable. Economic and ecological crises, social structural changes, political shifts, communicative-media discourses, atmospheric moods, and disturbances of the most diverse kind cannot be appreciated in isolation from specific sounds, performances, lyrics, images, stars, genres, etc. Therefore, these are always changing in the process: pop music cultures transform and are themselves transformed. “Pop is transformational, always. It is a dynamic movement in which cultural materials and its social environments mutually reshape each other, crossing previously fixed boundaries: class boundaries, ethnic boundaries or cultural boundaries [own translation].“ (Diedrich Diederichsen, Pop – deskriptiv, normativ, emphatisch (1996). In: Charis Goer, Stefan Greif, Christoph Jacke (Eds.): Texte zur Theorie des Pop, 2013: 188)

As a central category in the academic consideration of pop music cultures, transformation means more than mere development or change. Transformation, in this context, means that pop music cultural areas on and around real or virtual stages, in connection with societies, intentionally or non-intentionally, move from one state to another. Transformation, as a descriptive category for transitions, ruptures, and crises in cultural fields and practices, is central – as a key concept of a “[…] performative transformation model of crossover, reinterpretation and exchange of characteristics […], which focuses on the culture’s opposition to the binary and an either-or, that is, on the articulation and possibility of a third party and non-binary, and the necessary and possible competence of the actors [own translation] [.]“ (Thomas Düllo, Kultur als Transformation, 2011: 53) 

Thus, transformations are modes of transition. Pop music cultures are an exemplary field of transformations, where value systems, legal frameworks, infrastructures, technologies, consumption, reception and conditions, and habits change. The related processes, mechanisms, dynamics etc. are to be focused in the context of this conference.

With this, the 4th Biennial IASPM D-A-CH conference at Paderborn University (Department of Music – Popular Music and Media) would like to take a closer look at the transformative moments of pop music cultures by theorizing, empiricizing, historicizing, and, finally, politicizing them. Digitization, mediatization/medialization, economization and glocalization, as well as neo-nationalism, transculturation, gender, and power issues are explicitly intended as transversal to the following topics, and thus, integrative and not additive.

Topic Pop – Policy – Polity – Politics

• Pop and populism

• Politics and (de-)politicization in/of pop music cultures: Policy (contents), Polity (structures) and Politics (processes)

• Pop and funding policies: Actors, institutions, focal points

• Labor, work and pop music cultures: Between precarity and superstardom

• Pop music cultures and cultural participation

• (De-)Colonization and Pop Music Cultures

• Pop music cultures and borders, migrations and transgressions

• …

Topic Pop and Environmental Climate Transformations

• Climate damage/climate neutrality/climate protection and pop music cultures in connection with the creation, production, distribution, reception and processing of pop music (e.g. costs and benefits of transformative moments, such as new technologies or state incentive systems, etc.)

• Sounds of climate-damaging / climate neutral / climate protecting pop music

• Sounds of climate change

• Pop music cultures and environmental activism

• …

Topic Pop and Public / Published Opinion(s)

• Pop music journalism (e.g. transformations through commercialization, industrialization, digitalization and popularization)

• Transformations of marketing, public relations, advertising and journalism

• Professional versus amateur, public and published, opinion on pop (e.g. social networks and fan cultures)

• Transformations of legal frameworks 

• …
Topic Pop, Memories, Histories, and the Archives

• Connections and transformations of pop music cultures and institutions

• Institutionalized and non-institutionalized historiography, archiving, museumization and canonization

• Pop music cultural, pop music media, pop music industrial heritage

• Memory and remembrance in the context of mediatization/medialization, automation, digitalization and artificial intelligence

• …

Topic Pop and Academia

• Transformations within/of Popular Music Studies (national and inter- or transnational as well as disciplinary and inter- or transdisciplinary, academic/non-academic)

• Theories and methods of reflection on the transformation of objects and methods of Popular Music Studies

• Visions of Popular Music Studies (e.g. institutionalization, curricula etc.)

• Popular Music Studies: Specialists stories, genealogies, biographies and careers

• Transformations of the “Five I-s“ of IASPM D-A-CH (see Mission Statement at International, interinstitutional, intergenerational, interdisciplinary and interprofessional

• …

Other contributions outside these topics are welcome and will be considered if possible.

The call is aimed at researchers of all disciplines, subjects and perspectives who are conducting research in the broad field of Popular Music Studies as well as representatives of relevant non-academic fields. The conference is transdisciplinary – following the Paderborn research approach.

A membership in the IASPM or one of its branches is required for the submission of a panel or paper (information on membership at

Papers can be submitted and presented in German and English in the following formats:

• Panels with three presentations on a common topic (60 minutes + 30 minutes discussion)

• individual papers (20 minutes + 10 minutes discussion)

Submissions should include a title, a 250-word abstract, five keywords that concretize the planned contribution, names, academic affiliation (if applicable), a short bio note (one or two sentences) and contact information. Please submit only one abstract per person.

Proposals should be sent by 13 April 2020 to: The selection of papers will be anonymous. Applicants* will receive feedback by 11 May 2020.

Depending on the amount of financial support for the conference, the organizing team will try to support the travel and accommodation costs of those speakers whose home institutions do not cover them.

IASPM D-A-CH will award the Maria-Hanáček-prize for the best presentation held by a doctoral student at the conference.

If childcare is required, please register briefly at by 01.09.2020. 

Cooperation partner: norient