IASPM-US Submissions

Popular Music Writing IASPM-US

In addition to the general CFP below, we routinely post calls for thematically-linked essays that will publish over the course of a month. Look for them in this space, as well as on the front page of the site.


The United States branch of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM-US) uses its front page to feature cutting edge work in the field of popular music studies as well as useful information for members of the organization and pop enthusiasts at large. The IASPM-US site is designed to extend the organization’s mission to anchor American popular music scholarship by linking those in the field to pertinent news and research as it appears, highlighting notable and emergent scholarship, and strengthening personal ties. As an extension of IASPM-US, the site is committed to engaging popular music both fresh and historical with thoughtful and creative analysis. Roughly once per month, we will release a call for papers on a specific topic, featured at the top of this page and also linked from the top right corner of any page on the site.

In addition to the current topic, we want to curate the following features at all times. If you want to contribute to any of these, we welcome your contributions any time. The suggested word limit is 1000-1500 words, but we’re quite forgiving of submissions that run long.

  • Pop Talk: This feature is a deep reading of a song, music video, television or movie scene, or any moment that features music. This category is intended to cast a broad net and catch practically any thoughtful analysis or interpretation of music that doesn’t fall under any of the other categories defined below. Successful submissions might include sections of conference papers, seminar research, or class presentations that are not destined for book or journal publication.
  • Commercial Music Graphic: A tribute to Archie Green, who wrote a column of this name for the influential underground hillbilly music newsletter, the John Edwards Memorial Foundation Quarterly. Choose any image from popular music history and discuss it.
  • Cylinder of the Month: UC-Santa Barbara has an archive of recordings under their Cylinder Digitization Project (http://cylinders.library.ucsb.edu/index.php). At least once a month, the IASPM-US blog will feature one of these recordings, accompanied by a one or two paragraph explanation of what the listener is hearing and why the recording is significant (realizing that “significant” has a broad range of applicability).
  • Salvation Army American Music Archive: The idea here is to find an oddball piece of music that has been overlooked in much of the literature but that can offer some scholarly or historical perspective. Tell us why this recording might matter.
  • The Sampler: This feature will explore intertextuality in popular music, especially in hip hop samples. You could choose a song that features several samples and talk about how they’re used in the new setting, or you could focus on a single sample that is appropriated in several different songs.
  • Pedagogy: Many members of IASPM-US are teachers, and many readers of the blog will be, too. Even those who are not formal members of academia doubtless find themselves teaching about and advocating for popular music at least informally. The blog will feature reflections on teaching from many different perspectives, including a summary of a great lecture, presentation and workshopping of syllabi, best practices for different topics, dream classes/syllabi/scenarios for teaching popular music, discussions of academic standards/departments/politics.
  • Publication Updates: We will keep a pulse on popular music publications by posting brief interviews with authors whose books are about to be released and also by generating discussion around journal articles (which may also include brief author interviews). Keep us informed of your publications so that we can include you on the blog. Even when we don’t devote blog space to extensive coverage of a book or journal article, we will note pertinent publications as they appear.
  • Conference Roundups: IASPM and IASPM-US host annual conferences, but discussions of popular music happen at many different conferences each year. We want to recruit people who are planning to attend popular music panels at conferences to take notes and report back on what they hear. As conferences near, we will post announcements for volunteers. If you would like to volunteer ahead of time, we’re happy to hear from you.
  • IASPMUS Conference Content: We’d like to bring our annual conference—which is always packed with more outstanding papers than any one person could hear—to the web. In the months leading up to the conference, we will begin to feature abstracts, bits of papers, and clips of music for papers and panels that are scheduled for the conference. Keep this in mind as you submit abstracts and prepare your paper. This is an opportunity for presenters to build momentum for their presentations before the conference, expand with some ideas that can’t make the final cut of the paper, and reach an audience beyond those who can physically attend the conference and the smaller subset of those who can be present in the room. And it gives the rest of us the opportunity to participate in a broader sampling of the conference than we would otherwise be able to do.
  • Students: We imagine that students will be providing some of the above content, but we also want to reserve space on the blog for information specifically from students. This could involve pedagogy from the student’s (or TA’s) perspective, or a place to describe one’s thesis or dissertation and receive broad feedback.
  • Job Postings: We plan to link to academic job postings that seek popular music scholars. In addition, we’d like to be sure to catch jobs outside of academia altogether. Your help in spotting these is crucial. If you see a job (or especially if you are hiring for a job) in popular music, let us know so that we can let the whole readership know.

IASPM-US and its blog support diversity in all of its forms in popular music and plan to highlight musical content from every conceivable genre of popular music. We look forward to reading your submissions.

If you have work you’d like to submit, please send it as a Word attachment to Justin D Burton at justindburton@gmail.com or  iaspmus@gmail.com. In the subject line, include “Submission: Blog – [Name of Feature],” for example: “Submission: Blog – Pedagogy.” Please include along with your submission a 50-word bio that we can run along with your work. We will respond as quickly as possible to let you know whether your work will be featured on the site along with a date that you should expect to see it. There is no deadline for submissions; please begin to send your material as soon as possible, and keep sending it along!