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Skip a Beat: Challenging Popular Music Orthodoxy
The Second Annual EMP Pop Conference
Seattle, WA, April 2003

Skip a Beat: Challenging Popular Music Orthodoxy
The Second Annual EMP Pop Conference
Experience Music Project, Seattle, WA
April 10 to 13, 2003

"The blues had a baby and they called it rock and roll." For decades now,
a particular story of popular music, with rock and the baby boom
generation at its core, has grabbed the center of most histories.
Similarly, from bluegrass to reggae to hip-hop, there's often a "golden
age" associated with a specific style of music. What accounts for
particular moments achieving greatness? Why have certain narratives
assumed such power? What effect do these valorizations have on the making,
marketing, consumption, or longevity of music?

For this year's Pop Conference, we invite papers from any perspective that
look toward a new interpretive synthesis or a better justification of the
old one. The hope is that, rather than critiquing the longing for
authenticity, participants will suggest alternate viewpoints. Possible
topics include, but are by no means limited to, the ideas mentioned above
as well as:

-- African-American and Latino perspectives on the "rock" story
-- Putting jazz, show tunes, and classical back into the picture.
-- The global influence of disco.
-- The impact of new developments, from hip-hop to electronica, on the way 
   we value the past.
-- Post-baby boom, late-20th century socio-political effects on musicians: 
   e.g. civil rights, immigration, feminism, gay liberation, and
-- The sound of music, rather than lyrics, as an ongoing interpretive
-- Alternative rock, a decade of alternatives later.
-- The links between musical genres and literary genres such as science 
   fiction and mysteries.

The Pop Conference is an annual event, sponsored by the Seattle museum
Experience Music Project, that connects academics, journalists, musicians,
industry figures, and anyone else interested in ambitious music writing
that crosses disciplinary walls. Our first conference featured keynotes by
Robert Christgau and Simon Frith, as well as papers by Gary Giddins, Deena
Weinstein, Luc Sante, Simon Reynolds, Jon Pareles, Jason Toynbee, Sarah
Dougher, Geoffrey O'Brien, Susan Fast, and many others. A volume of the
proceedings is currently being readied for publication, most likely with
Harvard Press. The program committee for this year's conference includes
Daphne Brooks (Princeton), Robert Christgau (Village Voice), Shannon
Duddley (University of Washington), critic Greil Marcus, Ann Powers (EMP),
Kelefa Sanneh (New York Times), Steve Waksman (Smith), Gayle Wald (George
Washington), Robert Walser (UCLA), and Eric Weisbard (EMP).

The conference will feature a variety of panels, keynotes, and
performances. We welcome maverick suggestions and can accommodate nearly
any form of technological presentation. Proposals should include a
250-word-or-fewer abstract of the paper, a 50-word biography of the
presenter, preferred affiliation/title, and complete contact info. Please
send all proposals by November 30, 2002, to Eric Weisbard at E-mail submissions are preferred, but submissions may
also be sent through US mail to:

Eric Weisbard
Experience Music Project
2901 Third Avenue
Suite 400
Seattle, WA 98121

For more information on last year's Pop Conference and updates on 2003, go