CfP: A Riot of Our Own (University of Ulster)

Department of Sociology, the National University of Ireland Maynooth and the School of Sociology and Applied Social Studies, the University of Ulster:
„A Riot of Our Own: A Symposium on The Clash in Belfast“
June 20-21 2014 – University of Ulster, Belfast
Deadline: December 13th 2013

In the 1970s, with the Troubles at their height, touring musicians were usually unwilling to play in Northern Ireland. One of the few international acts prepared to break what was in effect the cultural boycott of the region was The Clash. In October 1977, the iconic punk band was scheduled to open the Get Out of Control tour with a concert in the Ulster Hall in Belfast city centre. A few hours before the group was due to take the stage, however, the gig was cancelled for reasons that remain disputed and sparking chaotic scenes that are often recalled as amounting to a ‘riot’. Shortly before Christmas, The Clash made good on their promise to return to Belfast and played a legendary concert in the McMordie Hall at Queen’s University.

These two gigs – and especially the one that was banned at short notice – retain a real resonance in Belfast and are central to the tales and myths that embroider the popular musical history of the city. It might be said then that the Northern Irish capital offers an appropriate – if, perhaps, at first glance unlikely – setting in which to reflect on the enduring significance of one of the most influential bands ever. A Riot of Our Own will bring together academics, journalists, artists and others to talk about what The Clash meant and continue to mean both in a broad range of senses and in a very specific context. This will, in effect, be two events in one – it will be both a symposium about The Clash (that happens to be) in Belfast and a symposium about The Clash in Belfast.

Contributors to the event will include:

  • Professor David Hesmondhalgh (University of Leeds);
  • Stuart Bailie (former NME journalist and CEO of the Oh Yeah Music Centre, Belfast);
  • Adrian Boot (photographer who took the iconic shots of The Clash touring Belfast).

Call for Papers

Proposals are invited for papers on any aspect of The Clash. Possible themes for the symposium might include but are not limited to:

  • The gender politics of the band
  • The Clash and Englishness
  • The politics of popular music
  • Representations of London in the band’s work
  • Did punk really die the day The Clash signed to CBS?
  • The ongoing ‘canonisation’ of the band
  • The band’s adoption of musical genres beyond the narrow range of punk, especially reggae and hip hop
  • The Clash and racial politics
  • The contemporary resonance of The Clash in an age of austerity and riot.

Proposals concerned with the significance of the visits that The Clash made to Belfast (either in 1977 or 1984) are, of course, especially welcome.

Please send proposals of no more than 300 words to Colin Coulter at: theclashinbelfast@gmail.com

The deadline for submissions is Friday December 13th 2013.

Registration for the symposium will open in early 2014.

A Riot of Our Own is organised jointly by the Department of Sociology, the National University of Ireland Maynooth and the School of Sociology and Applied Social Studies, the University of Ulster.

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