CfP: GfPM Conference „(Dis-)Orientations of Popular Music, Oldenburg, 16.-18. November 2018

28th Conference of the German Society for Popular Music Studies (GfPM): (Dis-) Orientations of Popular Music

Department of Music, Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg, Germany 16–18 November 2018

In Queer Phenomenology, Sara Ahmed describes orientation as a fundamental function of human experience. Significances of orientation range from inclinations and attitudes to processes of physical and spatial direction. In their multiple dimensions, orientations condition the way in which bodies experience strangeness, familiarity, normality, belonging, and displacement. As functions that fundamentally shape ways of being in the world, orientations therefore must be regarded as nodal points in the attribution of power and control. Orienting and disorienting means intervening into how we physically and mentally inhabit the world.

Music not only interacts with various types of orientation – ranging from the field of politics to space, time, nation, ethnicity, race, gender, and sexuality – it also serves as a medium through which orientations are performed. In order to unravel the power structures that shape – and are shaped by – musical practices, it is therefore essential to inquire about the ways in which different orientations manifest themselves in music. In what ways can popular music serve as a medium of orientation? What are the mechanisms by which popular music is oriented? What is the relationship between music’s performative orientations and its sound (e.g. extreme-right music with a white, nativist agenda based on African American music)? Who is invested in popular music’s orientations? This conference seeks to interrogate the processes of orientation in popular music by focusing on three aspects:

I (Dis-)Orientation and Intersectional Difference in Music

This section explores popular music’s interconnections with the construction of musical and cultural difference. Contributions to this section should be concerned with the intersectionality of discourses on gender, race, ethnicity, class, nationality, sexuality, and identity, among others. How does popular music orient itself within these discourses? And what are the forces that orient popular music within the power dynamics that contribute to the construction of difference? We welcome contributions from all disciplines that consider recent debates on intersectionality in cultural studies, including gender-, queer-, and post-colonial studies.

II (Dis-)Orientation and Music Education/Pedagogy

The second section aims to provide a dialogue on (dis-)orientations in (popular) music education. What are the implicit and explicit orientations of music education across different countries? What does it mean for music education to be “student-oriented” in light of heterogeneous music classrooms? How can music education create spaces in which students become the authors of their own processes of orientation and re-orientation? And how can the field of music pedagogy be reoriented towards addressing questions of intersectional difference and transculturality in the music classroom?

III (Dis-)Orientation and the Field of Popular Music Studies

The field of popular music studies has had a turbulent history characterized by repeated paradigm shifts. This section aims to reflect on the role of popular music studies in the construction of musical knowledge. To what extent have the actors, institutions, structures, and networks that shape popular music studies contributed to framing the ways in which we approach popular music today? What have been popular music studies’ points of orientation? Are there such things as nationally specific schools of popular music studies? In what ways does the framework of popular music limit and enhance our understanding of musical practice? And what potential is there for re-orienting popular music studies along heretofore non-existent, or underutilized, axes of orientation, and what shapes might those new orientations take?

Individual Proposals

If you would like to be considered for an individual paper, please submit a 300-word abstract. Individual papers may not exceed 30 minutes.

Panel Proposals

Panels typically consist of three papers. Panel proposals should include a main text outlining the common theme of the panel (300 words) as well as an abstract on each of the individual papers (300 words each). Panels are limited to 120 minutes. There will also be an open section for individual papers that do not address the conference topic. Please indicate whether your proposal is intended for Section I (Intersectionality), II (Education), III (Self-Reflection), or IV (open section). Submissions must be sent to

abstracts@(at)popularmusikforschung.de by 15 May 2018.

The conference languages and languages of the abstracts are English and German. We welcome contributions by PhD students and early career researchers. Contributions will be selected by an international jury by means of an anonymized procedure (double-blind peer review). Applicants will be notified no later than 15 June 2018. German Society for Popular Music Studies (GfPM): http://popularmusikforschung.de

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