A melting pot for fans, musicians, scholars, and journalists.
The annual EMP Pop Conference, first held in 2002, mixes together ambitious music writing of every kind, in an attempt to bring academics, critics, musicians, and dedicated fans into a collective conversation.
Call for Proposals
SIGN O' THE TIMES: MUSIC AND POLITICS
APRIL 20–23, 2017 AT EMP MUSEUM
“I’d like to help you, son, but you’re too young to vote,” the Congressman says in Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues.” Music, especially pop music, tends to anticipate politics—young people give a dress rehearsal of what’s to come, building movements or prefiguring new worlds. No less powerfully, music is shaped by politics, from rules of copyright, drinking ages, and noise volumes to crises of war and social injustice, rents in the fabric. Music’s connection to politics goes beyond sloganizing lyrics; it organizes, stirs, performs possibility.
For this year’s EMP Pop Conference, we invite presentations that relate music, of any styles or era, to politics, however that’s defined. Topics might include:
- Movements and Skeptics: anthems of unity and resistance cultures. Or not: music and bad politics, anti-politics, negation, outsider dissent, and solipsism
- New Worlds and Nostalgia: futurism, utopian, and fantastic imaginaries from slave spirituals to George Clinton’s Mothership. Traditionalism, nostalgia, residual forces
- State Politics: national and local policies; definitions of public and private; citizenship and internalized notions of power and control
- Performing Politics: strategic choices of mannerism, vocality, sound, and style; politicians appropriating music; music and propaganda
- Identity Politics: teen youth culture and shifts from worker solidarity to racial, gender, and sexual intersections; the radicalism of older artists
- Transnational and Border Politics: musical experiences beyond the US; immigration and refugees; sonic territoriality
- Leaders and Followers: Individual artists as representatives and fans as electorate; celebrity and “reality” politics
- Industry and Everyday Politics: categorizing, i.e. regulating performers; genre wars in country, rock, hip-hop, etc.; band politics and everyday interpersonal issues
- Limits: factors preventing music from effecting change
Individual proposals for 20-minute presentations should be 300 words, with a 75-word bio. For three-person (90-minute) or four-person (120-minute) panel proposals, include a one-paragraph overview and individual statements of 300 words with a 75-word bio. For roundtables, outline the subject in up to 500 words, include a 75-word bio for each panelist, and specify desired panel length. We welcome unorthodox proposals: ask for submission advice. Please include emails for all participants.
November 8, 2016 to conference organizer Eric Weisbard (University of Alabama) at Eric.Weisbard@gmail.com.
Program Committee Members
José Anguiano (Cal State, Los Angeles); Sarah Dougher (Portland State University); Jasen Emmons (EMP Museum); Daniel Goldmark (Case Western Reserve University); writer, director, and activist dream hampton; Charles Hughes (Rhodes College); Tavia Nyong’o (Yale); Ann Powers (NPR); writer Laura Snapes; writer and music producer Andy Zax
About the Conference
The conference was held at EMP from 2002–2010, then traveled to UCLA in 2011; NYU in 2012; and simultaneously at USC, NYU, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Tulane University, and EMP in 2013; before returning to EMP as the sole venue in 2014. Three books of conference writing have been published: This Is Pop, Listen Again, and Pop When the World Falls Apart.