Serge G. An International Conference on Serge Gainsbourg

Serge G.
An International Conference on Serge Gainsbourg

Paris-Sorbonne University
Collegium Musicae

9–10 April 2018

– Call for Papers –

In 1989, a survey of French cultural taste revealed that Serge Gainsbourg was both one of the most popular singers and yet a near outcast in his native country. When he died, two years later, President Mitterrand called him “our Baudelaire, our Apollinaire”, claiming he had “elevated chanson to the level of art”. But he might just as well have acknowledged Gainsbourg as the first artist to top the British charts with a single in a foreign language. With the hindsight of almost thirty years, one thing is, in any case, certain: sampled by Beck, De La Soul, Massive Attack and Fatboy Slim, remixed by Howie B. and David Holmes, translated by Mick Harvey and covered by Iggy Pop, Donna Summer, Portishead, Madeleine Peyroux, the Pet Shop Boys and Franz Ferdinand, “the man with the cabbage head” remains the Francophone songwriter whose contribution to the international appeal of French popular music has been the most significant in the post-war era. To celebrate the 90th anniversary of his birth, the IReMus’s CRMP (Centre de Recherche sur les Musiques Populaires) is organising the first international conference on this protean creator standing at the crossroads of pop music and chanson. We welcome papers on topics including (but not restricted to):
– Gainsbourg’s artistic output;
– his musical influences and inspirations;
– his relationship to the world of high culture;
– his connections with other art forms (cinema, literature, etc.);
– his career strategy and handling of his public image;
– his position in the social field;
– issues of gender.

The languages of the conference are French and English.* Proposals (of no more than 300 words) and short biographical notes (maximum 75 words) should be sent to by 17 December 2017. They will be peer-reviewed and decisions communicated on 5 February 2018.

For further information, please contact

Keynote Speakers
Darran Anderson (author of Histoire de Melody Nelson for Bloomsbury’s widely acclaimed 33-1/3 series)
Olivier Bourderionnet (author of Swing Troubadours. Brassens, Vian, Gainsbourg: Les Trente Glorieuses en 33 tours for Summa Publications)
Peter Hawkins (author of Chanson for Ashgate/Routledge)

Organising Committee
Philippe Cathé (Paris-Sorbonne University, IReMus)
Florian Guilloux (Paris-Sorbonne University, IReMus)
Olivier Julien (Paris-Sorbonne University, IReMus)
Benoît Navarret (Paris-Sorbonne University, IReMus)

Scientific Committee
Kirk Anderson (Wheaton College)
Moreno Andreatta (IRCAM-CNRS-UPMC)
Olivier Bourderionnet (The University of New Orleans)
Philippe Cathé (Paris-Sorbonne University, IReMus)
Gérôme Guibert (Sorbonne Nouvelle University)
Peter Hawkins (Bristol University)
Olivier Julien (Paris-Sorbonne University, IReMus)
Keir Keightley (The University of Western Ontario)
Barbara Lebrun (The University of Manchester)
David Looseley (University of Leeds)
Isabelle Marc (Universidade Complutense de Madrid)
Sue Miller (Leeds Beckett University)
Bodo Mrozek (Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung Postdam)
Benoît Navarret (Paris-Sorbonne University, IReMus)
Christophe Pirenne (University of Liège)
Cécile Prévost-Thomas (Sorbonne Nouvelle University)
Hyacinthe Ravet (Paris-Sorbonne University, IReMus)
Catherine Rudent (Sorbonne Nouvelle University)
Geoff Stahl (Victoria University of Wellington)
Chris Tinker (Heriot-Watt University)
Danick Trottier (Université du Québec à Montréal)