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[ecrea] cfp - Blues conference - Catania 2018

Sun Jan 28 19:52:28 GMT 2018

Call for Papers - Conference “Blues in the 21st Century – Myth, Social Expression and Transculturalism”

Venue: University of Catania, Department of Political and Social Sciences

Dates: 23-24 November 2018

Since its beginnings in the late 19th century, the Blues has been more than a music style with a seminal impact on 20th century popular music. As a medium of social expression, it articulated the tribulations of an entire black culture, male and female. Discourses about race were as much an integral part of the evolution of the blues as were those of class, when young white kids - in America and European countries, especially the UK - adopted the music for their political and social ends. Idealising/romanticising black models of living, their interpretations verged on myths on the one hand, but on the other brought out transcultural features of the blues in their performative acts. Other realms of performing arts, such as literature, films, etc., speak of the flexibility of the blues. Its commercialisation by white and black record companies, or annual festivals, is another proof of its durability. Bearing this in mind, any doubt about the survival of the blues in the 21st century is rendered obsolete.

This multi-disciplinary conference aims to trace the socio-political, historical, economic, transcultural, linguistic and musicological dimensions of the blues, and to emphasise the viability of this artistic and social medium.

We invite contributions on themes that may include (but are not limited to):

-              The Blues in film and media, or social media

-              Performers and performance (current or historical perspectives)

-              Typologies of Blues performance (festivals, street music, busking, etc.)

-              Socio-political phenomena, music of protest

-              History and cultural heritage, African roots, etc.

-              Impact on literature and other cultural forms

-              Urban/rural musical contexts and identities

-              White and black identity issues

-              Forms of audience participation

-              Musical travel and forms of tourism linked to the Blues

-              Blues and Gender

-              Blues and kindred/related styles

-              Future of the Blues (e.g. Rap, etc.)

-              National scenes and their differences/analogies

-              Blues and Marketing (foundations, awards, challenges)

The conference will be held in Catania, at the Department of Political and Social Sciences, University of Catania (, from 23-24th November, 2018.

Abstracts of not more than 250 words should be sent, by 30 June 2018 to Uwe Zagratzki ((uwe.zagratzki /at/ and Douglas Mark Ponton ((dponton /at/ Please indicate your name, professional/academic affiliations, a postal address and email. Authors will be informed of the outcome of the selection process by 15th July.

Selected contributions will be included in a peer-reviewed volume for publication.

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