Conveners: Nicholas Gebhardt and Paul Long
Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research
Birmingham City University
Papers are invited for a panel that aims to listen again and to (re) consider the relationship of popular music and historical method.
This is not to suggest however that music has been entirely absent from historical research (nor does it need only musicologists to engage with it), particularly as it pertains to popular forms. As discussed by Michael J Kramer in Jackson and Pelkey’s collection, scholars like Sheila Whiteley and Nick Bromell who have studied rock in the context of the 1960s ‘go far beyond simply treating the music as if its sole purpose was to be the background for socially conscious lyrics’ to consider how records and performance mattered as sounds.
In our current work, we’ve been exploring the range of practices concerned with history, heritage and memory in music cultures. We seek to understand what kind of ideas about the past they express and how they might expand our understanding of pop as source for historical understanding – about music and a wider cultural and social world. In particular, we are interested in placing music qua music at the centre of our investigation, exploring the manner in which sounds – and the forms by which they come to us - might be understood as historical sources.
For this panel then, we are particularly interested in papers reflecting on historiographical questions and issues of method around popular music as historical source rather than empirical case studies.
By way of suggestion (but not limited by), papers might cover:
NB: We aim to collect papers for a journal special edition and so if you do not intend to submit a paper to IASPM, ideas and abstracts on the themes set out above are still welcome for further discussion and exchange.