Don’t fence me in: Borders, frontiers, and diasporas

IASPM-US 2009 Conference
University of California, San Diego
May 29-31, 2009
San Diego, CA
The deadline for submission of abstracts has been extended to December 22

Borders, boundaries, and frontiers have intersected and interacted with popular music in differing ways, times, and places, and oftentimes these relationships have been particularly resonant in diasporic communities. Taking an open-ended approach to borders and boundaries as types of thresholds and to frontiers as kinds of liminal zones, this conference seeks to explore their significance in popular music in terms of the aesthetics of genre and style, the politics of personal and social identity, and the dynamics of time and place. Potential issues for discussion include technology, media, industry gatekeepers, changing business practices, gender, migration, ethnicity, nationality, language, and changing definitions of music that involve region and era. The program committee of the 2009 conference of IASPM-US invites proposals for papers, panels, or roundtables relating to these ideas and, of course, welcomes proposals on any aspect of popular music. Papers might address questions that include (but are by no means limited to) the following:

  • How does popular music negotiate tensions between ethnicity or nationality and the state?
  • How have diasporic communities used music to make sense of their world and of “home?”
  • How does a local scene gain its own identity and become iconic of a particular sound?
  • How do performers, critics, audiences, scholars, and others create genres and musical categories?
  • How do artists push beyond a threshold or “point of no return,” e.g., in a song, concert, career, or genre?
  • How do musical categories enable or proscribe engagement in musical production and consumption?
  • How are genres linked to non-musical categories of identity?
  • How does the music industry use genres/categories to market artists?
  • How has the development of the internet reduced the impact of borders and boundaries on artists?
  • How does the need to meet the demands of the recording industry shape artists’ creativity and desires?
  • How have the gatekeepers and business models in the music industry changed?
  • How are genres and borders linked to image and other factors?
  • How do American and international radio station formats compare?
  • How have practitioners responded to the definitions and boundaries that scholars have established?
  • How have scholars’ delineations of musical styles and traditions gone largely unchallenged by subsequent teacher-scholars, and how might they be challenged?

Proposals will be read blind by the program committee, which consists of Dale Chapman (Bates College), Kenneth Habib (California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo), Maria Johnson (Southern Illinois University), Beverly Keel (Middle Tennessee State University), Paul Lopes (Colgate University), and Maureen Mahon (University of California, Los Angeles and New York University).

Proposals will only be accepted via the online system. After October 1, 2008, a submission form will be available at Abstracts for individual papers and roundtables should be no longer than 300 words, and proposals for panels should include an abstract of no more than 300 words for the panel as a whole, as well as abstracts of no more than 300 words for each paper proposed for the panel. The program committee reserves the right to accept a panel but reject an individual paper on that panel.

For questions about the conference, contact Kenneth Habib, Program Committee Chair.

Submission deadline: 11:59 p.m. PST, December 22, 2008.

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