The Popularity of Words and Music
22–24 November 2018
Haus der Universität at Heinrich-Heine-University in Düsseldorf, Germany
The Forum of the International Association for Word and Music Studies (WMAF) will explore the ‘popular’ in words and music for its 5th Biennial Conference. Popularity and the ‘popular’ are phenomena of vast societal, political, and (inter-)medial proportions. From early approaches such as Adorno’s and Horkheimer’s heteronomous capitalist criticism to the less consumer- and more ‘prosumer’-orientated perspectives proposed by John Fiske and Henry Jenkins during the 1980s, the popular remains an ambivalent topic. Niklas Luhmann’s theorems that came to be used widely in the ‘pop theory’ of the 1990s re-emphasized the study of the popular as a key field of inquiry in critical discourse. bell hooks’s work in cultural studies during the 2000s opened the field of popular culture anew, analyzing it as a politically charged ‘powerful site for intervention, challenge and change’.
Studies in intermediality and Word and Music Studies have also proven to offer productive ‘popular’ approaches to musico-literary experimentation. Continuing in this vein, our conference asks: What is the ‘popular’ and what role(s) does music inhabit in its construction? What is the function of the popular, and is ‘pop’ a system? How can popularity be explained in certain historical and political contexts, including how race, class, gender, and ethnicity impact an understanding of the ‘popular’? What of the popularity of words? How do they interact with music at particular times and throughout various media? Keeping in mind the diverse WMAF membership and scholarship we are also interested in approaches that consider popular culture within the framework of race, class, gender, and ethnicity.
We invite early researchers to submit proposals for presentations and/or panels that engage with the popular, using a variety of methodologies and perspectives on words and music. These may include but are not strictly limited to:
Please send abstracts of no longer than 250 words, preferably with the subject "WMAF 2018" to:
Individual paper presentations will be 20 minutes long to be followed by 10 minutes of discussion. The conference language will be English. More information about the Word and Music Association Forum and about this conference will be posted on the organization website:
Deadline for receiving abstracts: 31 May 2018 (acceptance letters: 31 July 2018)
Any questions should be directed to the local Academic Committee:
Thomas Gurke & Susan Winnett at firstname.lastname@example.org
Call for Papers:
Edited by Pim Verhulst (University of Antwerp)
and Jarmila Mildorf (University of Paderborn)
Radio drama has been around since the development of the medium in the 1920s, roughly
coinciding with the birth of film. Unlike that culturally dominant visual medium, however,
the acoustic art form of the radio play has received much less critical attention. In addition
to voice and sound effects, one important aural feature that characterizes the radio play is music.
In contrast to the field of film narratology, where the narrative functions of music have long
been mapped and studied, radio drama still awaits such a systematic approach regarding the
interconnections between word and music, especially in the absence of visual stimuli. The present
volume aims to be a first step in that direction, bringing together scholars from the disciplines
of radio drama and modernism, audio- and transmedial narratology, as well as music and sound studies.
In doing so, the purpose of this collection is to offer a broad cross-section of national literatures and
broadcasting traditions, building on existing research while reassessing the role of music as a (non-)
narrative element in radio plays. Contributions may focus on one or multiple authors and works, but also on
composers, sound engineers, producers, directors or broadcasting services and networks, from the 1920s
to the present day. In addition to case studies or comparative analyses, we also invite contributions
on more theoretical, conceptual and methodological issues. Papers could engage with, but need not be
limited to, the following questions:
Papers are certainly not limited to radio drama in English but will have to provide
translations for non-English radio plays. The language of the volume will be English. We
explicitly ask that all work be original, so proposals for contributions that have been
previously published elsewhere, in whatever form, cannot be considered.
Selected submissions will be included in a proposal for the ‘Word and Music Studies’
series published by Brill (general series editors: Walter Bernhart, Michael Halliwell,
Lawrence Kramer, Steven Paul Scher and Werner Wolf). Publication will depend on the outcome
of the peer review process.
Please send a 400-500 word abstract, with a title and brief bio (affiliation, career
and recent publications) to email@example.com
by 30 June 2018. Finalized contributions
will be expected by 14 December 2018, for an estimated publication in late 2019 or early 2020.
For more information, see the website of the International Association for Word and Music Studies
or the Word and Music Studies series page on the Brill website.