IASPM-US Officer Elections

by Greg Weinstein on November 14, 2016

Dear IASPM-US members past and present,

We are due to hold elections for President, Vice President, and three Executive Committee open seats. But we face a challenge: the need to reassemble a true membership list. So please, if you are now an IASPM member, or have been over the past five years, please take a minute ASAP to fill out this survey (click the embedded link, or copy and paste into your browser: https://ung.co1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_0x18hAbMWcfVoNv), even if you think we have your contact information. (Note: the survey is hosted at the University of North Georgia because that is the home institution of IASPM-US’s Secretary, Esther Morgan-Ellis.) You have until November 28 to complete the survey and make sure that your name is on the list of people who will receive the ballot. Ballots will be sent on December 1.

Here are the nominating statements from those running for office.

Thanks very much,
Eric Weisbard
Chair, Nominating Committee



Steve Waksman

Vice President (vote for one)

Roshanak Kheshti
Katherine Meizel

Open Seats (vote for three)

Erin Bauer
Theo Cateforis
Kimberly Mack
Evelyn McDonnell
Elliott Powell
Shana L. Redmond
Victor Szabo
Elijah Wald


Steve Waksman

I first joined IASPM-US in 1997, and attended the joint IASPM-US/SEM conference in Pittsburgh that fall. I was still a graduate student at the time, and I was immediately amazed at how comfortable the conference and the organization felt. People I met at that first conference have remained close professional colleagues and friends. Since then I have attended every IASPM-US conference except for three, I believe. I have chaired the program committee for the conference twice (including in 2001, when it was canceled due to 9/11). I was an assistant editor at Journal of Popular Music Studies when it was a self-published journal done out of Anahid Kassabian’s office at Fordham University. I’ve been on the book award committee, the grad student paper prize committee, the nominations committee, and am currently chair of the Membership and Communications committee. I’ve done just about everything except hold elected office. Oh, and I won the Woody Guthrie book award in 2010, and was runner-up for the award in 2000. I don’t think anyone else has been recognized twice in the history of the organization.

IASPM-US has been my primary academic home just about from the time I first joined. This is because unlike many and perhaps most members, I don’t really have a “proper” disciplinary home. My Ph.D. is in American Studies so I’m interdisciplinary through and through. And long ago, I realized that Popular Music Studies is really what I do, above all. With that perspective, I believe that IASPM-US is the leading U.S. Popular Music Studies organization, precisely because it is not under the wing of some larger umbrella organization. Yet because of the dictates of professionalization, this has become a harder thing to “sell” to the larger field of people working in Popular Music Studies. The popular music sections of SEM, AMS, and SMT have arisen in the years since IASPM-US emerged. They have taken advantage of the space that IASPM-US cleared for doing serious scholarly work on popular music and have reasserted the priority of work that is primarily disciplinary, less interdisciplinary. As far as I’m concerned this is a step backward for Popular Music Studies, intellectually and organizationally. The EMP Pop Conference, on the other hand, has had more success in modeling a certain kind of diversity and inclusion, moving between academic and non-academic and across fields, but it is after all, a conference, not an organization or a substitute for what IASPM-US should be able to offer.

If I am elected President of IASPM-US, I will work to (re)-establish the organization as the leading venue for work in Popular Music Studies. This has to happen through building alliances with other competing professional organizations and making a case that the intellectual community in IASPM-US is unlike any other to be found. I will continue the important work done by current and recent executive boards to make IASPM-US a more inclusive organization with regard to race, gender, sexuality, and disability, and will seek to encourage the cultivation of a critical praxis in IASPM-US’s organizational workings that mirrors the commitments of its members. I will also help to nurture and improve the relationship between the U.S. chapter of IASPM and the larger international organization, where I’m also very active, and where our relations have often been sorely underdeveloped.
Roshanak Kheshti

This is Roshanak Kheshti and I’m excited to be nominated for the position of VP at IASPM-US. I am a cultural anthropologist by training and teach in the ethnic studies department at the University of California, San Diego where I have been for the last eight years. I recently published my first book Modernity’s Ear: Listening to Race and Gender in World Music, which is a mixed methods study of recording and listening to racialized and gendered sound. My particular focus is on ethnographic field recordings and the US world music industry, and where these merge. I am currently working on two projects: Switched on Bach for Bloomsbury Academic’s 33 1/3 series about Wendy Carlos’s famous 1969 platinum selling album and a monograph tentatively titled “ ‘We See With The Skin’: Zora Neale Hurston’s Synesthetic Hermeneutics,” which considers Hurston’s multi-media experiments from the 1920s-the ‘40s.

Serving as Vice President of IASPM-US at this historical moment means working to not only diversify the organization in terms of its membership but to additionally work with the executive committee to make the annual meeting themes timely and of broad interest to diverse constituencies. Furthermore, I am interested in facilitating a space at IASPM-US meetings for formal experimentation and alternative forms of knowledge production about music and sound, whether in the form of exhibits, interactive spaces or more workshops. Finally, I am interested in the potential for IASPM-US to develop a public humanities platform of some kind, be that a K-12 curriculum supplement for music education or a web-based interface that supplements STEAM education curricula.

Kathy Meizel

I’m honored to be nominated for the office of Vice President. IASPM-US has been entangled in my professional development for many years—I attended my first IASPM-US conference in 2008, and 2013 I was thrilled to hear one of my graduate students give her first conference paper. My book Idolized: Music, Media, and Identity in American Idol (Indiana University Press), published in 2011, received an honorable mention for the Woody Guthrie award that year. And in 2016 I chaired the program committee for the joint meeting of IASPM-US and IASPM-Canada in Calgary. I owe a great debt to the organization, and am eager to repay it through further service.

As a popular music scholar, I’ve been a dedicated and unapologetic poptimist, arguing that even the most mainstream sounds are deeply meaningful. Idolized investigates American Idol and the Idols format as stages where dynamics of American identity and global geopolitics were performed in the critical decade following September 11, 2001. What superficially appeared to be a form of light entertainment, I suggest, in fact became a powerful instrument in the millennial configuration of late capitalism, the shifting dynamics of production and consumption, and the domestic and global promotion of democracy.

I am also committed to nurturing the interdisciplinarity of popular music studies. Idolized is assigned in numerous courses in musicology, ethnomusicology, popular culture, and media studies; it addresses both conventional and digital ethnographic methods, and is one of only a few books to date built on ethnographic work in mainstream commercial pop music. It has also allowed me to share my research both across disciplines and outside of academe, publishing in venues dedicated to religious studies, media studies, and Middle East studies, speaking at the Center for Black Music Research, and writing a recurring feature for Slate (2006-2011). And as American Idol ended in the spring of 2016, an essay I wrote on that topic was picked up by The New Republic.

Finally, I believe that our society is obligated to continuously work toward the advancement of academic inclusivity. My teaching and service work has lately been concerned with disability studies and Deaf studies. During the 2015-2016 year I led a faculty learning community at my institution focused on the identification and application of pedagogical methods, techniques, and technologies that foster inclusivity on university campuses. In the summer of 2016, I co-founded the Great Lakes Disability Studies Consortium, which meets once a month both as a reading group and a task force. And now more than ever, at this particular national cultural moment, the lives of our members, colleagues, and students are at stake. We must pledge to support marginalized scholars and scholarship, and I am glad to be part of the newly formed IASPM-US committee on diversity and inclusion. I hope that we can generate tangible and lasting change in our own organization, and contribute to the reshaping of academic structures.

Thank you all for the opportunity to run for office, and for your consideration.
Erin Bauer

I am writing in application to an open seat on the IASPM-US Executive Board. I completed my Ph.D. in Musicology from Claremont Graduate University in 2014. I currently serve as Instructor (tenure-track) and Director of Instrumental Music at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne, Wyoming. I have been a member of IASPM-US since 2014. I have presented papers at the national meetings in Louisville (2015) and Calgary (2016) and have served as chair of the Site Selection Committee since 2016. My research uses unexpected connections between working-class populations to examine the modern commercialization of Mexican-American folk music.

My current book project, entitled The Globalization of Conjunto: Transnational Dissemination of Texas-Mexican Accordion Music, explores the worldwide spread of Texas-Mexican accordion music, called conjunto, a regional tradition historically forming a powerful symbol of cultural identity. Using ethnographic methods and comparative analysis, I demonstrate that musicians around the world identify with Texas-Mexican conjunto through the accordion sound and polka rhythms, but also through a common sense of retaliation against a dominant culture. In addition, my research shows that international conjunto artists tend to maintain a conservative style, while external characteristics- somewhat paradoxically- usually come from Texas-Mexican musicians. While other scholars have traced the early history of conjunto music, my work considers the changing role of the genre outside of traditional boundaries of language or location. In addressing issues of transnational identity, The Globalization of Conjunto moves away from more commercially successful genres of popular music to embrace the connections between working-class communities around the world. Through musical associations stimulated by electronic entertainment platforms and digital methods of communication, this research demonstrates that contemporary conjunto music is increasingly derived more from economic positionality- rich versus poor; mainstream versus minority- than historical categorization.

During my time at Laramie County Community College, I have actively recruited students and completely reorganized the instrumental music program to better align with area transfer institutions. Under my direction, the program has grown from six music majors to twenty-seven majors. Through my lead, the music degree at LCCC consists of five new concentrations, new course records for all music classes, deactivations of all obsolete courses, five new courses in the major, and eight new classifications of music courses to fulfill general education requirements. I would welcome the chance to bring these recruitment, administrative, and leadership experiences to the board of IASPM-US.

IASPM-US is in a transitional period, with solid leadership needed to negotiate journal affiliations, increase membership and participation, and strengthen national conferences. As more and more young scholars begin to stray from more traditional musical topics and explore popular music, global influences, and cultural impact, IASPM-US is in a advantageous position to serve as a home organization for many scholars, across many fields. My leadership experiences on my campus, preceding work with the organization, and activities in the field of popular music studies give me the background and knowledge necessary to aid in this transition. My own relative newness to the field and current position outside of mainstream academic give me the skills to connect with graduate students, as well as new, contingent, independent, and alt-ac scholars, along with fresh ideas and energy to help the organization achieve its full potential.

Theo Cateforis

Associate Professor of Music History & Cultures, Syracuse University
-Publications include Are We Not New Wave? Modern Pop at the Turn of the 1980s (University of Michigan Press, 2011), The Rock History Reader (Third Edition forthcoming, 2018) and articles/essays in Journal of Popular Music Studies, American Music, Journal of the Society for American Music, Current Musicology and more.

As a music historian whose research and teaching is squarely in the interdisciplinary area of popular music studies, IASPM has been vital to me for over two decades. I attended my first international IASPM meeting as a graduate student in 1994 and presented at my first IASPM-US conference in 1997. With the exception of two meetings, I have attended and/or presented at every IASPM-US conference since. In the past I have served IASPM-US in a variety of capacities. I was the society’s newsletter editor from 2001-2005 (back in the days of print), have chaired the Woody Guthrie Book Award, been on the Nominating and Finance committees, and was a member of the executive committee from 2001-2009. Having just completed an administrative stint as department chair at Syracuse University, I am now eager to devote more of my energies to IASPM-US. Our organization faces many challenges—ranging from membership to publications—and I look forward to helping the society however I can at this crucial time.

Kimberly Mack

I am applying for an open seat on the Executive Board of the IASPM-US. I am currently a member of the IASPM-US diversity committee, and I served on the program committee for the IASPM, US and Canada Branches, 2016 Annual Conference in Calgary, Alberta (Canada). At the 2016 IASPM conference, I presented my paper “99 Problems and Tidal is One: Jay-Z, the Class Wars, and Authentic Activism.”

I completed a PhD in English at the University of California, Los Angeles in July 2015. I am now an Assistant Professor at the University of Toledo specializing in African American literature and culture, twentieth- and twenty-first century ethnic American literature, autobiographical narratives, and American popular music. I am the author of “‘There’s No Home for You Here’: Jack White and the Unsolvable Problem of Blues Authenticity” (Musical Autobiographies, ed. Martin Butler and Daniel Stein, special issue of Popular Music and Society, 2015). My current book project, Fade to Black: Blues Music and the Art of Narrative Self-Invention from Bessie Smith to Jack White, explores the autobiographical impulse in contemporary American blues literature, drama, and popular music. I have presented papers about popular music at various other national conferences, including the EMP Pop Conference, the American Studies Association Annual Meeting, the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association Conference, and the U2 Conference. I am also a music journalist who has written articles and reviews for various international and national music publications, including Music Connection, Village Voice, Relix, PopMatters, and Hot Press.

As a member of the Executive Board of the IASPM-US, I would be particularly interested in developing initiatives that will help junior popular music scholars who work inside and outside of the academy. Given that I am an English PhD whose multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research engages popular music, I can effectively advocate for other junior popular music scholars with PhDs in fields other than musicology or ethnomusicology. In June 2016, I participated in the Popular Music Study Group of the American Musicological Society 2016 Junior Faculty Symposium at Case Western Reserve University. I enjoyed the Symposium tremendously, with many of the workshops directly applicable to my work as an English PhD who writes about popular music. The one thing missing, however, was a workshop focused on the interdisciplinary popular music scholar. This is a workshop that could be offered at the IASPM-US Annual Meeting. Other possible workshops/panels/opportunities that would benefit junior scholars focus on the job market, publishing journal articles, and one-on-one university press editor meetings.

Evelyn McDonnell

I would be honored to serve on the executive committee of the IASPM US. I have been researching and writing about popular music for over three decades, since I was an undergraduate at Brown University who wrote her senior thesis on the “leer-ics” censorship controversy of the 1950s. I also wrote music journalism for school publications as well as the local alternative weekly. At that time, there were few outlets for popular music studies in the academy, so after graduation, I pursued a career in the media. I have remained continuously actively engaged as a music journalist ever since. I have been a music editor at the San Francisco Weekly and The Village Voice and the pop music critic for The Miami Herald. I have written four books and co-edited two anthologies about music. I have also written for many magazines, journals, newspapers, and websites. In 2009 I went back to school, earning a Master’s from USC in arts journalism. My thesis was on the Runaways drummer, Sandy West. (Published as an LA Weekly cover story, it has been anthologized by the Best Music Writing series and the Library of America.) The following year, I began teaching Journalism at Loyola Marymount University, where I have created courses on music journalism and Riot Grrrls, and where I now direct the Journalism program.

I am delighted that in the decades between my undergraduate and graduate studies, popular music blossomed as a subject of serious discourse. I am also heartened by the way media-based scholarship and university-based scholarship intermingle and feed each other. In fact, interaction between journalists, academics, and artists was a defining feature of the 1997 Dia Center for the Arts conference I co-organized on music and myth. That gathering helped create a template for the EMP Pop Conferences, at which I have participated several times. As an Executive Board member for the IASPM-US, I would continue to foster those inter-professional connections, in keeping with the mission of the organization. In particular, I would reach out to the bloggers and other online commentators who are engaging with pop culture in an immediate and intimate fashion. I believe they could add a fresh perspective to the organization, and also that their writing could be informed by the work being done in the academy.

Along with my experience in the field, I could bring my skills as an editor and an organizer to the Executive Committee. In addition, to the Dia Conference, I was on the organizing committee for the PopCon LA in 2013. This past spring, I coproduced Grrrls on Film, a festival of film, music, and panel discussions at LMU. At LMU every year, I organize with my colleague Ruben Martinez our LAy of the LAnd panels. I would be happy to serve the IASPM by continuing and creating outreach opportunities.

Elliott Powell

I’m an Assistant Professor of American Studies at the University of Minnesota, and currently a Visiting Scholar in the University of Chicago’s Department of Music for the 2016-2017 academic year. My research and teaching sit at the intersections of race, sexuality, politics, and U.S. popular music. I am currently at work on a book manuscript, The Other Side of Things: African American and South Asian Collaborative Sounds in Black Popular Music, which brings together critical race, feminist, and queer theories to consider the political implications of African American and South Asian collaborative music-making practices in U.S.-based black popular music since the 1960s. In particular, the project investigates these cross-cultural exchanges in relation to larger global and domestic sociohistorical junctures that linked African American and South Asian diasporic communities, and argues that these Afro-South Asian cultural productions constitute dynamic, complex, and at times contradictory sites of comparative racialization, transformative gender and queer politics, and anti-imperial political alliances. I'm also at work on a second project--tentatively titled Prince, Porn, and Public Sex--that explores the politics of sex(uality) and music in Minneapolis during the 1980s. Writings from these research areas are published or forthcoming in philoSOPHIA: A Journal of Continental Feminism, The Routledge History of American Sexuality, The Oxford Handbook of Hip Hop Studies, and The Black Scholar (for which I'm co-editing a special issue on black queer and trans aesthetics—TBS' first queer and/or trans special issue).

I first attended the IASPM-US conference in 2009, and have attended and presented at every IASPM-US conference since 2013. I always look forward to participating in the IASPM-US conferences and engaging scholars in the larger IASPM community because IASPM has been (and continues to be) a welcoming and supportive space for the various methodological and epistemological ways that we study and think about popular music. Indeed, I received the David Sanjek Memorial Graduate Student Paper Prize in 2013, which not only gave me the confidence to complete my PhD (it signaled to me that my dissertation had some worth), but it also let me know that IASPM-US is a space where I can think through the intersectional, comparative, transnational, and political implications of popular music. To that end, if selected for one of the open seat positions, I would be committed to making sure transnationalism as well as race, gender, sexuality, disability, and other modes of power, difference, and belonging are central to the mission and future of IASPM-US—our current political climate demands it. I have already started this work this year as the co-chair of IASPM-US’ Diversity and Inclusion Committee, but the open seat position on the Executive Board would allow me to do this kind of work on a much larger scale.

Shana L. Redmond

I am a lifelong music fan and career music scholar with an investment in interdisciplinary humanities approaches to music, sound, and performance. I am currently Associate Professor of Musicology in the Herb Alpert School of Music at the University of California, Los Angeles where my courses include “Music and Politics” and “The Blues Epistemology.” Trained first in vocal performance and later in the traditions of African American Studies, I have been particularly compelled by the uses of music as strategy in social movements and protest cultures throughout the African world. My first book Anthem: Social Movements and the Sound of Solidarity in the African Diaspora (2014), investigates this phenomenon by tracking the complicated performances of citizenship as heard in the anthems of Black protest organizations in the twentieth century. My current work continues to mine the political solidarities sung in response to the limits and violences of the state while also expanding my interest in genre and method by following, for example, Paul Robeson’s vibrations and remakes of “We Are the World.” My writing and interviews for blogs and popular media outlets have recently taken on the performances of Jay-Z, Outkast, Solange and others as a way of both remarking upon contemporary sociopolitical debates and maintaining an active listening practice.

It has been my pleasure to participate in multiple ways with the IASPM-US conferences over the last few years, including the Austin 2013 conference during which I participated on a sonic borders “virtual panel” jointly hosted by IASPM-US and the blog Sounding Out!, in which I discussed the open, democratic harmonics within Chuck Berry’s live performance. I was on the conference planning committee for the Louisville 2016 conference, during which I joined the opening plenary session dedicated to the work and impact of Stuart Hall. On each occasion I participated in lively, challenging conversations with colleagues who believed, as I do, that the work we produce has significant theoretical and practical impact for a broad section of the academy as well as our communities. This is the work that I am committed to and look forward to advancing as a member of the executive committee.

Victor Szabo

I am a Teaching Resident at the University of Virginia’s Music Department, where I received my Ph.D. in Critical & Comparative Studies in 2015. My scholarship addresses the aesthetics of Western popular music since the invention of the phonograph, with special focus on countercultures, electronic music and media, and queer music formations from the 1960s to present.

I consider IASPM-US my primary academic society. I have been a member of IASPM-US since 2009, and have since attended nearly every annual meeting. I have delivered papers at four of these conferences, and also published my first article in the society’s Journal for Popular Music Studies. For me, this organization has been a supportive community and important scholarly resource as a junior scholar. As an Open Seat, I hope to work with the Executive Board and various IASPM-US committees to expand our network and extend our resources toward both academic and independent popular music scholars in a similarly supportive, cross-disciplinary, and inclusive manner.

From 2014–16, I served as an editor for the IASPM-US Website, first as Assistant Web Editor in 2014–15, then as Executive Web Editor from 2015–16. As Assistant Web Editor, I maintained our society’s presence on social media. I also initiated the IASPM-US Web Digest over our email listserv as a new way to keep members apprised of new posts and developments on the website. As Executive Web Editor in 2015–16, I maintained the IASPM-US website by posting society news and events (such as our annual conference page), as well as continuing and promoting the Interview Series and Mixtape Series. I also reanimated the Pedagogy Series, which had lain dormant for several years, by soliciting and posting syllabi and short essays on popular music pedagogy. I am currently serving on the Membership & Communications Committee created this year, as well as the Program Committee for our 2017 Annual Meeting in Cleveland.

Having worked with the Executive Committee for over two years, and having attended this past year’s Executive Committee meeting in Calgary, I am strongly aware of the urgency of the society’s organizational overhaul spearheaded by our outgoing VP Felicia Miyakawa. Society membership and conference attendance have been lagging for years, while we have lacked autonomous control over our own journal and membership lists. By-laws and procedures meanwhile remain sketchy. I am committed to continuing the hard work initiated by the current Executive Board to expand our membership, regain control of our resources, and buttress our infrastructure. As Open Seat, I would like to assist the Vice President as a liaison between the various committees and the executive board to ensure that we are coordinated in all our efforts. Additionally, I would like to emphasize IASPM-US’s potential role as a supportive community for junior scholars, alt-ac scholars, contingent faculty, and minority scholars, and hope to help promote our organization as welcoming of scholars (and scholarship) in the margins.

Elijah Wald

I have been a music journalist since 1981, specializing in US and world vernacular styles, and have published ten books related to popular music (as well as two non-musical ones) for a variety of publishers, both commercial and academic. I wrote for the Boston Globe for almost twenty years, leaving after organizing a freelancers’ organization to fight a new contract.

After my fourth book, Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues (HarperCollins 2004) received honorable mention for a major award from the American Musicological Society, I was offered a lecturer position at UCLA, and through other professors there became aware of IASPM. I attended the 2007 US meeting in Boston, became a member, and have since attended several IASPM-US meetings as well as the international in Mexico City (also in 2007, for a special panel sponsored by Freemuse, the UN-affiliated international organization against music censorship) and was keynote speaker for the German branch at their meeting in Basel in 2012. Although I taught off and on for several years at UCLA, I have remained primarily an independent scholar, musician, and writer. However, I have been drawing somewhat closer to academia, earning an interdisciplinary PhD in ethnomusicology and sociolinguistics from Tufts University in 2015, and currently am on a one year teaching fellowship at Boston College.

I have found IASPM useful as a forum for meeting other popular music scholars, and also benefited from discussions on the group’s international email list. I am interested in being a board member to further familiarize myself with the workings of the Association, and also to further some specific interests: I would like to see more non-academic scholars getting involved in IASPM. In my particular fields of specialization (blues and international music), some of the most respected and prolific scholars have no academic credentials or affiliations, and it seems to me that by engaging with these scholars we could strengthen the Association, while also broadening their interchange with academic peers.

I would also like to explore the possibility of rethinking IASPM’s affiliation or contractual agreement with Wiley-Blackwell publishers. As a freelance scholar and writer, I am troubled by the common practices of academic publishers, whereby contributors are forced to relinquish copyright in their own work, with no remuneration, in return for publication. I would like to explore the possibility of IASPM publishing in a less rapacious manner, while maintaining high academic standards, thus opening up the possibility that writers like myself could contribute without feeling like we were selling our souls.

Both of these interests are, however, secondary considerations; I would first hope to improve my own connection to the Association, and to familiarize myself with the internal workings and concerns of the membership. As a board member, I would hope to be involved in advocating for pop music scholars, both within and outside academia, and what is clearly an increasingly difficult time for scholars of all stripes and inclinations.

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