Setting the Record Straight: Hidden Histories of Popular Music

Call for papers:

Setting the Record Straight: Hidden Histories of Popular Music


Chris Anderton (Solent University, Southampton, UK)

Martin James (Solent University, Southampton, UK)

Proposals are sought for chapter contributions to an edited collection with strong publisher interest.


The historical significance of music-makers, music scenes and music genres has been mediated through numerous academic and popular press publications (including magazines, films and television documentaries), as well through officially released music industry products and the informal productivity of artist and genre enthusiasts. This book will examine these various publications and will question how and why they are constructed. For instance, the formal mediations of the music industry and popular press typically present linear narratives that are based on simplifications, exaggerations and omissions. The histories they construct often place an undue emphasis on key moments of birth and death, or on particular personalities that are deemed to drive those moments. This approach tends to lead to totalising ‘popular’ histories that reduce otherwise messy narratives to one-dimensional interpretations of a heroic and celebratory nature. Ideological positioning, personal biases and sometimes untrustworthy narrators lead to historical perspectives that become naturalised and accepted as being true, and serve to narrow our understanding of the development of popular music. They also contribute to the creation and maintenance of myths that reinforce the contemporary industry of music nostalgia, and are further communicated through the user-generated content of social media and the Internet. Artists, genres and events may be removed from these simplified and mythologised media narratives or their significance downplayed in processes of distortion and selection. The informal mediations of fans and enthusiasts may reinforce such mythologies or actively challenge them by presenting alternative narratives. For example, bloggers and non-commercial bootleggers uncover ‘lost’ recordings, make live concerts available to trade, or publish their own interviews and stories that extend beyond the official canon.


We are looking for proposals for chapter contributions that will explore and challenge these mediated histories and narratives – to question the basis on which they are constructed, and to highlight other, hidden histories that have otherwise been neglected. These new perspectives on music history are themselves subject to issues of re-presentation and bias, yet they expand our broader knowledge of the processes involved, and further refine our understanding of the history of music.

We invite chapter proposals that can be situated within, but not limited to the following broad areas:

Roots and routes

Events and artefacts

Subcultures and scenes

Styles and genres

Gender and sexuality

Race and ethnicity




Geography – Centre and periphery, space and place


Youth and ageing




– Etc.


Please submit chapter proposals of 300 words (plus references, if necessary) along with author name(s), institutional affiliations, contact details and a brief bio of no more than 150 words by 2 November, 2018  to: and