2013 Conference

IASPM-US Popular Music Conference

Membership and Conference Registration

Conference Hotel

Preliminary Program

Sonic Borders Virtual Panel

Abstracts and Presenter Bios

Conference Logistics: Hotel, Airport, Venues, Public Transportation

David Sanjek Memorial Graduate Student Paper Prize

Program Advertising Rates

Theme and CFP

Membership and Conference Registration

IASPM-US Membership: Before registering for the 2013 IASPM-US conference in Austin, we encourage each attendee to first become a member of IASPM-US or to renew an existing membership for 2013 (membership in an IASPM branch is required for conference presenters). To initiate or renew membership in IASPM-US, please visit Wiley-Blackwell.

Membership in IASPM-US brings with it many benefits, from full website access to a free subscription to our in-house publication (the Journal of Popular Music Studies) to participation in a network of like-minded colleagues. Membership in IASPM-US also allows you to make presenations at our conferences. Moreover, as a member of IASPM-US you become a member of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music and will receive the International’s newsletter, Review of Popular Music.

All rates include membership in the US and International chapters of IASPM and a subscription to JPMS. Dues are as follows:

Individual memberships US $70
Student/Unwaged membership US $39
Joint memberships US $81

Conference Registration: Separate from the IASPM-US membership available through the Wiley-Blackwell link above, registration for the 2013 conference in Austin is available through PayPal, which you can access by clicking one of the buttons below. After you register, you can fill out this form (please complete by 2/13), which will tell us what name and institutional affiliation to include on your conference name tag. On-site registration and retrieval of conference materials will be at the Thompson Conference Center.

student 60 button

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IASPM-US has partnered with the Doubletree Suites in Austin for a special conference rate of $189/night. Located in downtown Austin, the DoubleTree Suites is four blocks from the UT campus (and only three blocks from the capital). From the edge of campus, it’s roughly a 1 mile walk across campus to the Thompson Conference Center (Friday and Saturday Panels) and Music Recital Hall (Sunday Panels). In addition, the hotel provides free shuttle service to campus and around downtown. These are full suites that include a separate living room area and that will be ideal for attendees who need to split the cost with a roommate or two.

To book a room, follow the link to the Doubletree Suites’ website, choose dates, and enter the group code IAS (after choosing your dates, you’ll see a link labeled “Add special rate codes” just above the “Check Availability” button; be sure to input the code next to “Group Code” in order to get the special rate). You may also book by phone by calling 800-222-8733.

The Doubletree website is set to offer the rates for attendees who check in on or after February 28 and check out no later than March 3. If you plan to arrive early or stay late, simply call the hotel, which has agreed to extend the conference rate based on availability. In order to receive the conference rate, you must book your room no later than February 7.

For more information about the hotel’s location and transportation to and from the hotel, see the conference logistics page.

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David Sanjek Memorial Graduate Student Paper Prize

The committee for the David Sanjek Graduate Student Paper Prize of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music – US Branch (IASPM-US) invites graduate students who will be presenting at the 2013 IASPM-US annual conference to submit their papers for consideration.

Eligibility: Any student who presents, in person, a formal paper at the IASPM-US annual meeting is eligible for the prize. A student shall be defined as a person pursuing an active course of studies in a degree program. This includes persons who are engaged in writing the doctoral dissertation but not those who are teaching full-time while doing so. Student applicants must be members of IASPM-US.

Application Process: To apply for the prize, the prize candidate must electronically submit a copy of his/her paper to iaspmgradprize2013@gmail.com along with a Registration Form.  The deadline for submissions is Friday February 22 at 11:59pm. The winner will be announced at the general business meeting at the annual conference. The paper deposited is to be the version that is read at the conference and may not exceed twelve double-spaced pages (roughly 3,900 words).

Please feel free to email the chair of the committee if you have any questions.  We look forward to reading some great papers. As further incentive, this year’s winner receives a cash prize of $350!

Committee chair:
Justin D Burton
Rider University

Charles McGovern
The College of William & Mary

Michelle Habell-Pallán
University of Washington

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Call for Proposals (Deadline has passed)

Liminality & Borderlands
International Association for the Study of Popular Music, US Branch
2013 Annual Conference
Austin, Texas, February 28 – March 3, 2013

Crossover stars, vampires and zombies, gender-bending divas and divos, international sensations who truck cultural ideas across borders: popular music and culture are full of performers and characters who move through and effectively occupy zones of “in-betweenness,” carrying signifiers of more than one identity at a time while fully embodying none.  In light of the many pop culture projects that inhabit these less-definite stations and/or spread across and blur boundaries, the 2013 IASPM-US Conference in Austin, TX, will explore the ideas of liminality & borderlands in popular music, focusing on those things (artists, genres, textures, developments, etc.) that are “neither” and “both” at the same time.

Whereas liminality’s temporal underpinnings index as a processual transition betwixt what has been and what is yet to come, the notion of borderlands (exemplified by the work of Gloria Anzaldúa) attends to the dynamic and tangible spaces that exist between binaries and geographies.  Both concepts challenge norms by unsettling accepted practices and conventions, but can also serve as bases for disenfranchisement, preventing groups from forming the sort of cohesive, affirmative identities that emerge from traditions and shared histories.  In-betweenness can function as a position of emancipatory release or an intermediate zone of structured initiation.  Thus, depending on one’s experience, both the process and state of straddling border(s) may be characterized primarily by either lack or abundance.  The 2013 IASPM-US conference will consider a variety of the possible motivations and ramifications of liminality and existing at the borderlands.  The following ideas represent topics that may be explored at the conference, but we anticipate and encourage many more approaches to liminality & borderlands and will consider any topic on popular music for inclusion on the program:

Inter-mediate(d) Identities: As performers and audiences seek out unique experiences of music, they often find themselves at the border of many different genre distinctions without fully belonging to any one.  Some musicians, like MIA, play at international boundaries, existing in many spaces at once while risking being misunderstood.  Still others—Lady Gaga, Elvis Presley, LMFAO—work with racial and gender signifiers that suspend them between traditionally constructed groups, expanding both their mobility and their vulnerability.  In what ways do musicians and listeners construct multiple, overlapping identities through popular music? How are these identities critiqued, ratified, or sometimes even created by the mainstream? How do the political, aesthetic, and commercial aspects of music performance intersect in material ways that are lived out in and on the body?

Emergent Performances: As a form of expression, music performance is necessarily liminal, with intention and interpretation always dynamically moving among all participants in a communicative web.  Through performance, artists are transformed and audiences lose themselves in the spatial and temporal liminality it engenders.  How do we understand performance as on the one hand multivalent and on the other nascent? How can we study popular music as an emergent practice? And what does it sound like when framed this way? What are the unique roles that listeners and performers play in the in-between spaces of performance? When musicians discuss their performances, do they tend to understand what they’re doing more as emergent or fixed? What roles are played by technology to encourage us to understand music as either emergent or fixed?

Methodologies and Pedagogies in Progress: Popular music studies is a relatively new field, and its boundaries and practices are in constant negotiation.  When considering liminality & borderlands in popular music, it seems helpful to also think about the “in-betweenness” of popular music in the academy and in public discourse.  How does our experience of popular music translate in our methodologies and teaching? How does popular music studies interact with its border disciplines in the academy? How do scholars navigate the boundary between “popular” and “classical,” and how do popular and classical music studies inform one another? As a nascent discipline, should popular music studies seek definitive methodologies or choose instead to remain at the borderlands?

Pastiche and Layered Meanings: One hallmark of postmodern style is pastiche, and popular music—from mashup artists to singers who incorporate unexpected genre markers in their music—includes a variety of instances of stylistic agglomeration and intertextual reference, resulting in sounds that reside at the borders of music genre-fication without fitting neatly into any particular category.  This sort of liminality represents a move away from clear definition toward blurrier boundaries.  Practices like signifyin(g) also upset the notion of definitively grasping music by allowing many different possible interpretations at once.  What do we make of music that chooses ambiguity as its own end? How do we account for multiple meanings and interpretations afforded by liminal practices of signification? How do we fit our understanding of this sort of “in-betweenness” into the postmodern critiques of pastiche and capital?

Industry at the Crossroads: Popular music has long been tied to the demands and needs of the marketplace, with various entertainment industries influencing the ways music has been produced, distributed, mediated, and consumed.  In past decades, for example, corporate conglomerates have helped define the accepted boundaries and practices of musical genres and subgenres, styles and substyles.  While participants and observers have long contested these borders (and their perceived dominance), they have recently become increasingly porous and fractured as new technologies and business models emerge.  How do musicians, mediators, and listeners navigate these new in-between spaces of production and consumption? In what ways might participants strategically seek liminal spaces or borderlands for their commercial musicking? How do we relate these new market realities to previous narratives that often assumed a monolithic, undifferentiated popular music mainstream?


The United States branch of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music is situated on the cutting edge of popular music studies and has remained an important part of the popular music landscape since the early 1980s. Over the years, our Annual Conference has nurtured stimulating intellectual, professional, and musical exchanges, not to mention countless scholarly collaborations and partnerships. We are excited to carry this tradition into our 2013 conference, hosted by the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas, in the beautiful and immanently musical city of Austin.

This year’s conference program committee includes Anthony Kwame Harrison (Virginia Tech), Justin D Burton (Rider), Kevin Fellezs (Columbia), Elias Krell (Northwestern),AndrewMall(DePaul), Katherine Meizel (Bowling Green), Karl Hagstrom Miller (UniversityofTexas), and Ali Colleen Neff (UniversityofNorth Carolina).

Deadline for proposals is Thursday, November 8.  Please submit proposals to iaspmus2013@gmail.com. Individual presenters should submit a paper title, 250-word abstract, and author information including full name, institutional affiliation, email address and a one-page c.v.  Panel proposals, specifying either 90 minutes (three presenters) or 120 (four), should include both 125-word overview and 250-word individual proposals (plus author information), or 250-word overview and 50-word bios (plus email addresses and vitae) for roundtable discussions.  Please send abstracts and vitae as separate MSWord attachments.  All conference participants must be registered IASMP-US members.  For membership information visit: http://iaspm-us.net/membership/. For more information about the conference, go to http://iaspm-us.net/conferences/ or send email inquiries to Anthony Kwame Harrison, program committee chair, at kwame@vt.edu.

See you in Austin!

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