Thursday, March 22, 2012

CFP: for the Journal of Popular Music Studies special issue on queer and transgender studies in popular music


Proposed Special Issue of the Journal of Popular Music Studies
Guest Editors: Francesca Royster and Tavia Nyong’o

The Journal of Popular Music Studies invites submissions for a special issue on queer and transgender studies in popular music. Love and eroticism are central to the experience of popular music. But the very ubiquity and ostensible universality of those themes have not always led music studies to do justice to the experiences and ways of knowing of minoritarian sexualities and genders. Conversely, critiques of the homo/hetero and cis/trans binaries that have emerged in queer and trans studies have often focused on literary and visual studies, less commonly to music. Music, however, would seem to be ideally suited for the decentered, materialist and/or subjectless critique pioneered in transgender and queer studies. To date, work at the intersection of queer theory and music has tended to focus either on classical music and opera, on the one hand, or on the sociocultural dimensions of popular music on the other. This issue seeks instead to center the sonic as a crucial means for thinking the popular beyond static identity categories. We hope to bring the best of recent work in queer and transgender theory to bear on music and sound studies. Some possible directions of inquiry might include (but are not limited to):

  • Global, regional, and transnational musics and scenes;
  • Queering the geography of musical production, including the centrality of performance spaces such as bars, discos, etc. in the ways we map queer spaces;
  • Theorizing trans/ gender queer voice and/or sound;
  • Rethinking questions of mainstreams, margins, and questions of genre or format;
  • Queer of color critique and queer musical assemblages;
  • Intimacy, belonging, and lyrical subjectivity;
  • Popular musics in historical perspective, and historicizations of the popular/high culture distinction in music.
Papers should be approximately 7,000 words. Send complete papers to Francesca Royster ( or Tavia Nyong’o ( by August 15th, 2012.