Institut für Musikwissenschaft


Pop–Power–Positions. Global Relations and Popular Music

3rd IASPM D-A-CH Conference

Bern, 18–20 October 2018


Registration is already closed. If you want to attend the conference, please contact



Link to Conference Website


Vorträge von / Presentations By

Stefanie Alisch (Bayreuth), Citra Aryandari (Yogyakarta), Verena Bons (Freiburg i.Br.), Dahlia Borsche (Berlin), Marc Brooks (Salzburg), Thade Buchborn (Freiburg i.Br.), Dietmar Elflein (Braunschweig), Ayhan Erol (Izmir), Beate Flath (Paderborn), Adam Ignacz (Budapest), Steffen Just (Berlin), Antti-Ville Kärjä (Helsinki), Arne Kellermann (Berlin), Kerstin Klenke (Vienna), Marko Kölbl (Vienna), Chen-Yu Lin (Liverpool), Martin Lücke (Berlin), Bianca Ludewig (Vienna), Chris McGuinness (New York), Sean Prieske (Berlin), Christina Richter-Ibáñez (Tübingen), Martin Ringsmut (Cologne), Melanie Schiller (Groningen), Oliver Seibt (Amsterdam), Helena Simonett (Lucerne), Darci Sprengel (Oxford), Barbara Titus(Amsterdam), Peter Tschmuck (Vienna), Chelsea Oden (Oregon), Pedro J S Vieira de Oliveira (Berlin), Dean Vuletic (Vienna), meLê yamono (Amsterdam)

Teilnahmegebühren / Conference Fee
Für folgende Teilnehmenden ist die Teilnahme an der Konferenz frei. / The conference is free for the following participants: Members of any IASPM branch, CH-EM, and students/lecturers from the University of Bern or Bern University of the Arts (HKB).

Für alle anderen Teilnehmenden gelten die folgenden Teilnahmegebühren (zu bezahlen per Rechnung/Überweisung nach der Registrierung). / For all other participants the following conference fees are valid (to be payed per invoice/wire transfer after registration).
Ganze Konferenz / Full conference: 100.00 CHF
Donnerstag, 18.10.18 / Thursday: 40.00 CHF
Freitag, 19.10.18 / Friday: 40.00 CHF
Samstag, 20.10.18 / Saturday: 30.00 CHF

Konferenzort / Conference Venue
Donnerstag / Thursday:
Bern University of the Arts (HKB), Fellerstrasse 11, 3027 Bern, Aula
Freitag/Samstag / Friday/Saturday:
University of Bern, UniS, Schanzeneckstrasse 1, 3012 Bern

Im Rahmen der Konferenz verleiht IASPM D-A-CH den Maria-Hanáček-Preis für den besten Vortrag einer Doktorandin oder eines Doktoranden. / IASPM D-A-CH will award the Maria-Hanáček-prize for the best presentation held by a doctoral student at the conference.

Organized by: 
University of Bern, Institute for Musicology
Bern University of the Arts, Research Area Interpretation

Local Organizing Committee
Anja Brunner, University of Bern
Hannes Liechti, Bern University of the Arts/Norient
Daniel Allenbach & Sabine Jud, Bern University of the Arts
Yves Chapuis, University of Bern

Programme Comittee
Dr. Anja Brunner, University of Bern
Dr. Thomas Burkhalter, Bern University of the Arts/Norient
Dr. Sarah Chaker, University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna
Prof. Dr. Christoph Jacke, Paderborn University
Prof. Dr. Werner Jauk, University of Graz
Prof. Dr. Julio Mendívil, University of Vienna
Hannes Liechti, MA, Bern University of the Arts/Norient
Martin Ringsmut, MA, University of Cologne

Anja Brunner -
Funded by:

Call for Papers

In Nigeria, the high pressure to follow the copyright rules of the globalized pop music market restrains the use of samples in hip hop culture. In Egypt, young musicians have no credit cards, leaving them without access to the online music market. In Europe, second and third generation migrants discuss their non-European backgrounds and European identities in songs and tracks. And U.S.-produced Korean pop music (K-Pop) increasingly rivals Korean-produced K-Pop in its concern for authentic presentation. 
Issues of power, position, access, and representation have shaped the production, distribution, and reception of popular music and continue to do so today. The three-day interdisciplinary conference Pop – Power – Positions highlights popular music’s embeddedness in a global world. It seeks to uncover and scrutinize the risks, challenges, and potentials of power structures, positioning, and (re)presentations in popular music. The analysis of global, postcolonial structures plays a central role in this endeavour. To date, however, music– and popular music in particular – has only rarely been studied using postcolonial perspectives.
Postcolonialism refers not only to the historical fact of colonialism and its political, geographical, cultural, and economic impact on the countries and regions involved. Rather, postcolonial studies deal with all aspects of cultural diversity, ethnic and cultural difference, and their related power structures. Colonialism as well as postcolonialism refer to hierarchies that are enacted and produced through the construction of the Other and bring about and enforce debateable concepts of representation such as gender, race, ethnic group, nation, class, and culture. In this regard, the effects of (post)colonialism can be detected not only in former colonialized and colonising countries and regions, but also in those which at first sight do not have a colonial heritage, for example Switzerland.
From its beginnings, popular music has been produced and performed in and within (post)colonial (power) structures. Postcolonial traces are, according to Johannes Ismaiel-Wendt, inherent in any popular music (2011). Current productions of popular music in different countries show that (post)colonial conditions live on in popular music, especially in a globalised world, and that musicians as well as recipients react in various ways to this situation.
The conference focuses on (global) power relations and representations of race, cultural difference, ethnicity, gender, class, and nation, including the changes and subversive strategies these may involve. Ethnographic and analytical studies of popular music in and from (former) colonised countries and regions are also welcome. We invite papers that address the following range of topics and questions:
  • Who speaks in popular music? What kinds of power structures shape the production, distribution, and reception of popular music? What is the impact of the Anglophone music business on other music markets? Who speaks about popular music in the areas of marketing, advertising, journalism, fan cultures, (global) politics, and educational institutions – and what vocabulary do they use?
  • Have digitalisation and digital networks led to a democratisation of musical processes, or the contrary?
  • What sounds and music(s) are processed in what contexts by whom and how, and to what aim? How does the use of certain sounds/music(s) point to existing power relations, dependencies, and availability? 
  • What role do geographies and geopolitics play in popular music-making? How do geography, world order, and power structures relate?
  • In what ways can popular music exist beyond cultural, ethnic, and national geographies? What role does the relation between the Global North and Global South have in popular music?
  • How do structures of power and distribution limit the access to the production and reception of popular music?
  • What relevance, usability, and impact do technologies (like Digital Audio Workstations) or legal regulations (like the copyright laws) that have been developed in Western contexts have for popular music? In what ways are (post)colonial structures and power relations (re)produced therein?
  • What kinds of representations do musicians use for their marketing? What traits are ascribed to music?
  • What potential does popular music hold for detecting and changing (or enforcing) colonial and postcolonial power structures?
  • How can postcolonial theories be made fruitful for an up-to-date understanding of popular music?
  • How do musicians of different forms of popular music process a „(post)colonial experience of the world” („(post)koloniales Welterleben“, Ismaiel-Wendt) in their music?
Popular Music Studies
  • How marginalised are specific popular musics within the history of popular music?
  • Should or can we write a Global History of Popular Music?
  • In what way is the concept of popular music in itself (post)colonial?
  • What hierarchies, asymmetries or restraints can be found in inter-/transdisciplinary Popular Music Studies?
Keynote: Dr Jenny Fatou Mbaye (City University London)
Contributions on popular music that lie outside the scope of these topic areas are welcome and will be considered if possible.
The conference invites researchers of Popular Music Studies from all disciplines to take part, for example from musicology, ethnomusicology, anthropology, cultural studies, history, global studies, media and communication studies, postcolonial studies, or sociology. In order to submit a paper or a panel proposal, speakers must be a member of IASPM, respectively of one of its branches (for information on membership see or
Papers may be given in German or English. Proposals can be made for panels on a special topic including three presentations (60 minutes + 30 minutes discussion) or for single papers (20 minutes + 10 minutes discussion). Please include title, an abstract of 250 words, five keywords, name, academic affiliation, a short biographical note of no more than two sentences, and your contact information.
Please email your abstract to by 28 February 2018.
Papers will anonymized before selection. You will be informed about the selection by 31 March 2018.
Depending on the financial situation, the organisers hope to contribute to travel and accommodation costs of those speakers who have no other sources of support.
There will be arrangements in place for child care.
IASPM D-A-CH will award the Maria-Hanáček-prize for the best presentation held by a doctoral student at the conference.