#iaspmuscon: Hangover Edition

by justindburton on March 4, 2013

IASPM-US Popular Music Conference

The 2013 IASPM-US conference has come and gone, but the ideas and energy of the weekend will surely be resonating with those of us who attended (either in person or virtually) for months and years to come. Before we move on to the next one, it seems appropriate to offer one more big round of thanks to those who contributed to making it a fantastic weekend.

Anthony Kwame Harrison headed up the program committee this year, generating an evocative CFP that provided a handful of intellectual seeds that grew into engaging and intriguing presentations throughout the weekend. Working alongside him on the committee were Ali Colleen Neff (UNC-Chapel Hill), Karl Hagstrom-Miller (UT-Austin), Katherine Meizel (Bowling Green), Andrew Mall (DePaul), Elias Krell (Northwestern), Kevin Fellezs (Columbia), and Justin D Burton (Rider).

Local arrangements were primarily handled by Caroline Polk O’Meara (also the IASPM-US treasurer) and Karl Hagstrom-Miller (also the IASPM-US secretary) and a large, energetic cohort of UT-Austin graduate students who pitched in at practically every level of planning in the last year. Local arrangements is probably one of the more thankless jobs a person can do, as most conference attendees take the smooth running of the conference for granted. But from rooms to food to hotels to coffee (seriously, how many of us would’ve made it through our papers without the coffee?) to A/V to event planning to the program, Caroline, Karl, and the UT students had their hands in all of it. Whenever you have the chance, let Caroline and Karl know that you noticed the work they did.

Anchoring the program were a series of plenary sessions that provoked, unsettled, and inspired. To the folks at the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame (Jason Hanley, Lauren Onkey, and Kathryn Metz) and Austin City Limits (Terry Lickona and Ed Bailey), everyone on the Devon Powers-coordinated Interdisciplinary Roundtable (Roberto Avant-Mier, Daphne Brooks, Alice Echols, and Mark Katz), the keynote speaker Veit Erlmann, and our 2011 Guthrie Award winner Karl Hagstrom-Miller: thanks to each of you for stimulating and discipline-stretching talks that were the subject of conversation among participants all weekend.

We’re pop music scholars, so we like to listen to music, too. Friday night, Reebee Garofalo set up an evening with the Minor Mishap Marching Band and the Dead Music Capitol Band. Saturday, UT graduate student Juan Agudelo connected us with Austin DJ Orión, who heads up the Peligrosa collective and warmly invited some of our scholars to join him in moving some bodies on the dancefloor. Oded Erez, Mike D’Errico, Ali Colleen Neff, and Jessica Dilday, alongside Orión, treated us to a night of expertly selected and skillfully mixed sets. And Caroline made sure we could there and back on both nights by hiring a van service to transport us all. Friday and Saturday night, smiles were smiled, asses were shaken, and fun was had. Thanks to all who organized and performed for keeping us plugged into the music we love.

Before we arrived in Austin, we collaborated on a virtual panel related to the conference them, formed in conjunction with our friends and colleagues at Sounding Out! the Sound Studies Blog. Liana Silva, Jennifer Stoever-Ackerman, and Aaron Trammell, the SO! editorial collective, solicited a series of essays exploring the liminal and borderland spaces that link and separate sounds studies and popular music studies from a cadre of scholars who complemented the group who participated from the IASPM-US side: Liana Silva, Regina Bradley, Marcus Boon, Barry Shank, Tavia Nyong’o, Theo Cateforis, Tara Betts, Shana Redmond, Airek Beauchamp, and Devon Powers asked big questions and listened across the spectrum and a variety of discourses to consider the interstices of our disciplines. Thanks to all involved, from the editing team to the writers, for an engrossing month-long study.

Throughout the year, the executive committee (Barry Shank, Eric Weisbard, Caroline Polk O’Meara, Karl Hagstrom-Miller, Devon Powers, Anthony Kwame Harrison, Lindsay Bernhagen, Mike D’Errico, and Justin D Burton) was at the ready for ideas, decisions, and support as the conference came together. Thanks for the energy and passion that fuels the organization.

Most importantly, there’s no conference to have without everyone who submitted an abstract, presented their ideas, and engaged one another in panel sessions, at meals, and on dancefloors. Thanks to all of you for your dedication to studying, engaging, and constantly working to understand popular music and all that surrounds it.

I’m positive there are names missing from this post. To those of you whose work we didn’t directly acknowledge here, that’s on me. I imagine some of the best parts of the weekend were performed by hands I’m not intuitive enough to see, but our gratitude to you remains.

We’ll do this again in Chapel Hill, NC, 13-16 March 2014.

Perhaps you’ll forgive me if we take a few days off at the site? We’ll be back soon with some reflections on the conference, the announcement and feature of this year’s Guthrie and Sanjek winners, a new slew of interviews, and the wide-ranging pop music ruminations that typify IASPM-US.


Anthony Kwame Harrison March 4, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Hear Hear!!
Well said Justin.
Just one note of clarification. I played almost no part in generating the evocative CFP. That was mostly Justin, with a few timely revisions by Eli and others.
Thanks to everyone and especially thanks to Justin for keeping everything organized and broadcast through the website.

Leah Mishap March 5, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Dead Music Capitol Band 🙂 Thanks from a Mishap. It was a blast. https://www.facebook.com/DeadMusicCapitalBand

justindburton March 5, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Change made, Leah!

justindburton March 6, 2013 at 12:38 pm

Also, good point, Kwame. Eli’s addition of borderlands was huge for the conference, and I certainly didn’t mean to underplay the full contributions of the program committee, who collectively selected a terrific set of papers for the weekend!

Justin Williams March 11, 2013 at 6:30 am

Hey Guys,
Sounds like a great conference once again. Wish I could have been there, but alas, was a little too early in the UK term for me. I’ll try and make it next year, for sure!

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