Music and Politics in Britain and Italy, 1933-1968

Call for Papers Deadline: 26 June 2012

King’s College London, UK, 13-14 September 2012

The aim of this conference is to bring together research students and early career scholars for a discussion of music and politics in the mid-twentieth century. From the accession of Hitler in 1933 to the cultural revolutions that swept across Europe in the late 1960s, music was politicised on an unprecedented scale.

The similarities and differences between Britain and Italy make them ripe for a comparative approach. In the aftermath of the First World War, both countries developed powerful Marxist and Fascist contingents, but while Britain remained democratic, Italy became home to one of the longest-running totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century. Both had prominent heritage industries, but nostalgia for a musical past had differing political resonances within and between the two countries. And although both were economically and physically damaged by the Second World War, their experiences of conflict were notably different: Italy endured occupation, Allied liberation and subsequently what amounted to civil war; Britain maintained its freedom, but, in doing so, furthered the decline of its status as an imperial and world power.

Many prominent scholars are currently addressing the fact that Britain and Italy have tended to reside at the edge of musical historiography during this period, sidelined by the centrality traditionally afforded Germany and France; this conference seeks to be part of this ongoing discussion. How did political events affect musical culture during this period? Can a comparative study of Italy and Britain reveal more about what it meant for music to be politicised during and after the Second World War?

We welcome submissions on subjects related to music and politics in Britain or Italy between 1933-1968.

Keynote Speakers:
Arman Schwartz (Columbia) and Heather Wiebe (Virginia), ‘Inside the Glass Mountain’

Roundtable, chaired by Roger Parker (King’s College London), and featuring: John Deathridge (King’s College London), Benjamin Earle (Birmingham), Marina Frolova-Walker (Cambridge), Thomas Irvine (Southampton) and Laura Tunbridge (Manchester).

For further information, and to submit a proposal, please visit:

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