The North American British Music Studies Association

The North American British Music Studies Association

2023 Online Symposium

Call for Papers:
North American British Music Studies Online Symposium:
Music and Ideas of the Popular: Reconsidering British Music and Musical Practices
August 10-12, 2023 on Zoom

The topic of the 2023 biennial online symposium is “Ideas of the Popular in British Music.” Despite the messiness involved in “popular” (or, for that matter, “art”) music, we propose a rethinking of “popular” and “popular culture” in British music, broadly construed, in local and global contexts.

We hope to address the following questions:  How are notions of the “popular” tied to assumptions about gender, race, national belonging, and social status? What values and ideologies are mobilized by the opposition of popular with elite culture? How has popular music been mediated, and how does its mediation shape the politics of space and place, empire and nation? What are the ways in which cultural producers, media makers, and fans have tried to break down the traditional elite / popular dichotomous models? How are all of these ideas discursively legitimated – and challenged (today and / or in the past)? What role has popular music played in British intellectual history, including but not limited to cultural studies thinkers, such as Richard Hoggart, Stuart Hall, Dick Hebdige, Angela McRobbie, Simon Frith, Paul Gilroy, and Richard Dyer?

With these initial questions in mind, we invite contributions that investigate ideas of the popular not only in contemporary British musical practices, but also in historical, contextual, biographical or theoretical contexts as well. We are interested in papers that tackle any of the following ideas (or add other relevant ones):

We invite you to submit an abstract (200‒300 words) and a brief biography (100‒150
words) for a paper presentation of 20 minutes’ duration by 1 May 2023 to We also encourage the submission of roundtable or panel
proposals on any of the themes. All participants will be notified by Conveners about the
acceptance of their proposals by 15 May 2023. The recommended deadline for
completed papers (to send to your panel chair) is 1 August, 2023.

Information about registration will be given in due course. Should you have any
questions, feel free to contact the organizing team at the conference email address:

“In the study of popular culture, we should always start here: with the double-stake in popular culture, the double movement of containment and resistance, which is always inevitably inside it.”

Stuart Hall, “Notes on Deconstructing ‘The Popular’,” in People’s History and Socialist Theory, ed.
Raphael Samuel (London: Routledge, 1981), 228.

Convenors: Christina Baade, Jonathan Hicks, Vanessa L. Rogers, Matthew Williams