Music and Socialism since 1917

Conference supported by the Institute of Musical Research

7-8 July 2017, Department of Music, University of Nottingham

Keynote: Eric Drott (University of Texas at Austin)

‘Music and Socialism: Past, Present and Future’

 

 Convenor: Danijela Špirić-Beard (IMR Early Career Fellow, Royal Holloway)

Conference committee: Robert Adlington (University of Nottingham), Pauline Fairclough (University of Bristol), Elaine Kelly (The University of Edinburgh) and John Street (University of East Anglia)

Call for proposals

The rise of Occupy, Podemos, Syriza, Bernie Sanders and Corbynism for many indicates the emergence of twenty-first century socialism, but despite this renewed interest, the concept of socialism continues to receive little attention in musicological discourse. Marking the centenary of the Russian Revolution, this conference will examine how music and socialism have been articulated at various historical and sociopolitical junctures, focusing on how composers and musicians have voiced their political engagement since 1917.

In contrast to the implicit radicalism of communism, socialism was initially championed as the more moderate and democratic means of effecting social change. The aim of this conference is to open up a dialogue between the creative and transformative inroads that socialism has made through music over the last hundred years, and the more adverse appropriation of music and socialist ideology by totalitarian regimes. The conference will challenge the semantic confusion over socialism and communism, and generate a more global understanding of socialism as an impulse that resonates beyond the Cold-War polarisation, and across many different cultures, societies and political systems.

The conference seeks to address (but is not limited to) the following themes:

– What constitutes socialist music?

– Rethinking Marx and critical theory

– Music, protest, democracy: between moral imperative and social action

– Composing socialism: mass communication and intellectual experimentation

– Rethinking music in the Cold War: towards socialist commonalities

– Pop and socialism

– Sounding socialism on screen

– Economy, capitalism and the music industry

– Music and postsocialism

– Music in socially engaged projects

– Social engagement or political commitment: liberals, radicals, progressives

– Socialist or social?

 

Submissions

We invite proposals for both individual papers and themed panels (3−4 speakers).

– Individual abstracts (250 words)

– Panels should include individual abstracts (250 words) and a short description of the proposed panel (200 words)

All proposals must include the title of the presentation/panel, author name(s), institutional affiliation(s), email contact, technical requirements and a short biography (100 words). Proposals should be sent as a word attachment to Danijela Špirić-Beard at Spiric-BeardD@cardiff.ac.uk

The deadline is 11 January 2017.

Applicants will be informed of the outcome by 15 February. Information about the conference (including accommodation and travel information) will be sent to all successful candidates by the end of February.

A conference fee of £35 will cover the cost of a conference pack, buffet lunch and refreshments on both days. A limited number of travel bursaries will be available to postgraduates and to early career researchers without institutional support.

A selection of authors will be invited to contribute to a multi-authored volume.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What does democracy sound like? Actors, Institutions – Practices, Discourses

International Conference, 5th-7th November 2015, Philharmonie de Paris

Partners:
L’Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales Paris (Centre de recherches sur les arts et le langage & Centre Georg Simmel); Centre Marc Bloch Berlin; Palazzetto Bru Zane Venice; Center for Worldmusic Hildesheim; Philharmonie de Paris

With the question ‘What does democracy sound like?’, this jointly organised German-French conference intends to open up a space for discussing conceptions and potential functions of music within democratic societies. In research, relations between music and politics were especially closely intertwined thought in official representations of feudal societies and in the context of the ideological instrumentalization of music in totalitarian regimes. Considering this, it appears that the relationship between music and politics can carry dangerous, or at least problematic implications. This relationship seems to be also difficult with regard to the (unquestioned) necessity of autonomy and the principle of artistic freedom. In contrast to this stands the positive power of music, as represented by its potential for use in resistance, protest and liberation movements and its mobilization within processes of community and identity building. Instead of viewing these differing perspectives as contradictory, this conference aims to consider them as an expression of the complexity of the relationships between musical practices and diverse conceptions of collective action and social groupings.

In both historical and anthropological approaches, various forms of musical practices, discourses and social groupings (state, regional and local communities, clubs and interest groups etc.) within democratic societies come into consideration here:

How can it, for example, be explained that music often acts as a means of representing a society as being free and equal, i.e. as a medium for the shaping of society? What prerequisites and intentions underlie the understanding of music as social ‘common property’? In how far are different actors/experts (researchers, members of various interest groups or also militant associations) involved in the process of legitimating state intervention in various musical spheres (artistic production, mediation, education, construction of musical spaces)? Also to be discussed are terms such as ‘culture’, ‘music’, ‘society’, ‘the people’ etc., which struggle for definitionwithin the continualinterplay of societal legitimation and contradiction. Musical practice, when viewed in relation to the term ‘democracy’–which shouldalso be problematized with regardtoits social and political processes of mediation – demands an openness of approach. Indeed, the term ‘democracy’ is instinctively connected to unifying societal ideals and political norms, yet the practical implementation of this concept clearly varies according to time and place.

In order to bring this variation to attention, the conference will take on a longue duréeperspective and trace ideas of democratic thinking in music – with its continuities and gaps – from its first appearance (late 18th/early 19th century) up to the present day. The examples of France and Germany can be taken as a starting point but the focus should by no means be restricted to them. Rather, points of reference between different countries and cultural contexts should be drawn upon and produced.

On the basis of these initial questions, contributions to one or more of the following key areas are welcome:

Music and State: music-related cultural and educational policies; debates on societal representation and participation; institutionalization processes; etc.

History of Ideas: historical milestones in the development of concepts of ‘music and democracy’; processes of mobilization and stabilization as well as controversies surrounding related concepts (musical autonomy, representation, cultural diversity, etc.); the construction of musical hierarchies and genres; etc.

Creativity and Politics: debates on the definition and diversity of the terms ‘culture’ and ‘music’ from the viewpoint of artists (social culture, culture for everyone, etc.); conceptions of society and politics that underlie musical practices; politically motivated music; etc.

Space and Reception: construction of musical spaces and events in democratic societies (concert halls, festivals, conservatoires, radio, etc.); social and symbolic dimensions of architectonic conceptions and localizations in space; debates on social responsibility and the financing of musical spaces and events; etc.

Musical Publics: practices and contexts of listening and reception; concepts of ‘the public’ (elite, mainstream, masses, listeners, audiences, fans, etc.); means of constructing and representing the public (statistics, expert studies, market analysis, self-organization, medialization); etc.

By inviting contributions that concern themselves with various historical and geographic situations and that are orientated around different points of access to the topic (different actors, institutions, practices, discourses), the conference intends to open a forum in which the variety of perspectives on this theme can be taken into account. The aim is to consider the relationship between music and politics in all its complexities and different manifestations in democratic societies.

Contributions from a broad range of humanities and social science disciplines are welcome (History, Anthropology, Musicology, Ethnomusicology, Political Sciences, Sociology, DevelopmentalStudies/Pedagogy, Theatre Studies, etc.).
The conference languages are French, German and English.

Proposals (abstract max. 2000 characters, CV max. 500 characters) should be sent by 15th May 2015 at the latest to the following address: musikdemokratie@gmail.com.
Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by 30th June 2015 and the conference programme published online at http://www.musikdemokratie.wordpress.com.
We look forward to receiving your proposals!

Members of the scientific committee:

Philip Bohlman, Esteban Buch, Annegret Fauser, Wolfgang Fuhrmann, Antoine Hennion, Denis Laborde, Karine Le Bail, Julio Mendívil, Olivier Roueff, Patrice Veit, Raimund Vogels, Sarah Zalfen, Hansjakob Ziemer

Organizers:

Talia Bachir-Loopuyt (Université Jean-Monnet), Etienne Jardin (Palazzetto Bru-Zane), Christina Kaps (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), Elsa Rieu (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales Paris), Lena van der Hoven (Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung)