Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences

Dialectical Trash? Notes on Historicising ' the Popular'

This talk by Ross Cole, University of Cambridge will throw new light on that troublesome question ‘what is popular music?’ by looking at debates surrounding the concept in Britain and the US during the period roughly 1860 to 1920.

FUAIM Research Seminar: Confronting discourse in newspapers and periodicals, Ross wants to argue that ‘popular music’ does not refer to a genre or repertoire and is thus a profoundly unhelpful term unless it is understood in respect to the shifting, paradoxical, and incontrovertibly political motivations underlying its various instantiations. Although implicated in the construction of binary oppositions and frequently associated with impropriety, the popular was not always associated with lowness. The concept, however, was shot through with contradictions deriving from a view of the mass as being simultaneously docile, disciplined, and seditious. Ultimately, Ross suggests that the popular is a floating signifier with the potential to reference mutually opposing ideas. Ross Cole is a Junior Research Fellow at Homerton College Cambridge, where he writes on popular and avant-garde music of the twentieth century. He studied at the University of Oxford (BA 1st class with Gibbs Prize, 2009), the University of York (MRes, 2010), and the University of Cambridge (PhD, 2015). Prior to taking up his Fellowship, he held a Temporary Lectureship at Cambridge, where he was awarded the Faculty of Music's Teaching Prize. His work appears or is forthcoming in the Journal of the Royal Musical Association, the Journal of Musicology, Twentieth-Century Music, the Journal of the Society for American Music, and Music & Letters.

Category: Public Lectures and Seminars: Arts Celtic Studies and Social Sciences
Time: 11am-1pm
Location: O Riada Hall, Department of Music, Sunday's Well Road
Target Audience: All welcome
Admission Price: € Free
Contact: Celena O'Brien
021 4904530

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