For current information on the Feminist Working Group, click here.

The biggest stars of the day from Katy Perry, Nikki Minaj, Lady Gaga, to Adam Lambert, play in the brightest lights with conventions of gender and sexuality, echoing and building upon traditions of pop performance as old as the stage itself. In basements, barrooms, concert halls and cafes across the country, artists of all types do the same—and more—while rooted in various political, performative, and social contexts they might hesitate to call “feminist” but will surely call “doing their thing.”

And at the same time, an industry shifts dynamically in the wake of dramatic technological changes, rendering concepts of “professionalism” in new light while the academy shifts to deal with popular culture in ways more inclusive than ever before (or not).

At this day-long conference, a group of music journalists, scholars, musicians, and music industry professionals came together to talk about the changing role of gender, race, and sexuality in the pop music world.

This conference was organized by Karen Tongson, Ann Powers, Daphne Carr, and Sarah Dougher.

Monday, October 10, 2011

2012 Feminist Working Group: Turn It Up!

Here's the call for our 2012 action:

Turn It Up! Listening to Difference
A series of panels sponsored by the Feminist Working Group
Click here to be taken to the new Feminist Working Group page and get all the latest info about current and future projects of this group.
The Feminist Working Group will host a series of panels and meet-ups at the 2012 EMP Pop Conference, presented on March 22-25, 2012 by NYU's Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the US branch of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music(IASPM-US). The aim of these events is to provide social space, a forum for research and ideas, and opportunities to network for women, lesbians, gay, bisexual and transgendered people, people of color, and anyone without traditionally privileged access to academia, journalism and/or the music industry.

The theme of this year's conference "Sounds of the City" invites us to reconsider the 'gorgeous mosaic' that is the metropolis. How do we make our voices heard, listen to others, and share the groove? How should popular music and sound studies engage questions of diversity and inclusion? How do we continue to think in the 'singular plural,' accounting for the overlapping and ever-evolving way in which identities are lived and imagined? How do we learn to listen to (and for) difference?

We invite and encourage a wide diversity of discourses related to experiencing sound in the city including the work of scholars,activists, journalists, teachers, musicians, and archivists. Bring us your scholarship, your manifestos, your archives, your communities, your selves. Priority will be given to topics that address the ways identities and communities intersect and overlap, and that pay attention to the multiple aspects of difference: including gender, sexuality, race, class, citizenship, religion, region, and able-bodiedness. Accepted presentations will be grouped onto panels by the organizers, and should be designed to accommodate a 20-minute time limit, and minimal tech requirements beyond classroom A/V and internet access.

Email submission deadline: October 15th, 2012
Email a 250-word paper or presentation proposal, with 50-word bio, to turnitup2012 at gmail dot com

Please Note: Submission to Turn It Up! should not preclude submission to the open call for EMP/IASPM-US:
All proposals that are NOT accepted for Turn It Up! will automatically be sent on to the EMP/IASPM-US committee unless the proposer indicates otherwise.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Thank you!

A big round of applause goes out to all the participants and sincere thanks to all the attendees of Work It! at USC on February 24th. We have over a hundred attendees, lots of frank (and, even better, Phranc) talk about gender, sexuality, race, and careers in scholarship, journalism, and the music industry.

If you have resources to share, links, or documents, please do email them to musicwriting at gmail dot com, and they will be placed on this website to share with all.


The Work It! Team: Karen, Daphne, Sarah, and Ann

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Work It! Day Of Schedule

9:30: Doors open, coffee and tea, courtesy of USC Arts and Letters

10am: Welcome and opening Remarks: Alice Echols, USC

S/he works hard for the money (10:30am—12:00pm)
Moderator: Ann Powers, chief pop critic, Los Angeles Times

This panel features women working in the music industry discussing how issues of race, gender and sexuality affect their day to day experiences. What are the career benefits and challenges that difference may bring to musicians and music industry professionals? How does the practice of making and marketing music support traditional concepts of race, gender and sexuality? Subvert them? How have things changed for people outside rock's "straight boy's club" in the past few decades?

Ceci Bastida, vocalist
Amy Blackman, Cookman Management
Nicole Vandenberg, head of Vandenberg Communications
Evelyn McDonnell, journalist and memoirist
Lauren Onkey, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio
Rachel Reynolds, music publicity director at L.A. public radio station KCRW
Judy Miller Silverman, head publicist, Motormouthmedia

Lunch and Break out sessions (12pm-2:30)
Organized by: Sarah Dougher, Portland State University

Catered lunch (Mexican with a vegetarian option)

In this lunchtime session, groups will form with one or more team leaders for discussion on the politics and pragmatics of taking gender and sexuality seriously in the following fields:

On Musical Practice, with:
Anna Huff is a multi-media artist, composer and performer, Anna Oxygen
Jen Smith, musician and activist
Allison Wolfe, musician and activist

On Education, with:
Jack Halberstam, USC
Alice Echols, USC
Elizabeth K. Keenan, Fordham University
Gayle Wald, George Washington University

On Activism, with:
Justice by Uniting in Creative Energy, or J.U.i.C.E., a LA-based project that curbs youth violence and crime through hip hop culture
Becky Gebhardt, bassist Raining Jane, co-founded Rock n' Roll Camp for Girls, Los Angeles
Emily Lacy, folk and electronic sound artist

On Journalism and publishing, with:
Margaret Wappler, Los Angeles Times music writer
Daphne Carr, Best Music Writing series
Marissa Meltzer, author and freelancer

Work it! A roundtable discussion about performance, pop, profit, and the academy (2:30—4pm)
Moderated by: Karen Tongson, USC

In this panel, leading scholars of gender, sexuality and race have a conversation about the interventions feminist/queer/of color scholars make in the reception of contemporary popular music and culture, especially in light of the EMP Conference's theme on "Music and Money." To what extent are academics themselves pop professionals, especially when pop music and culture are our primary objects of study? How do we understand "working it" not only in the music profession, but in the neoliberal and entrepreneurial environment of contemporary universities? And how are our own versions of "working it" critical of, as well as deeply related to, the performers and pop industries we write about?

Karen Tongson, USC (moderator)
Christine Bacareza Balance, University of California, Irvine
Daphne Brooks, Princeton University
Jayna Brown University of California, Riverside
Jack Halberstam, University of Southern California
Tavia Nyong’o, New York University
Gayle Wald, George Washington University

Thanks to: Nikki Darling, Rebecca Das and Jeanne Weiss for administrative and promotional support for the conference. You rock!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Parking and public transit for the Work It! Conference

Parking on the USC campus is $8 daily. Click here for general parking info at USC.

The Event is at the Tutor Campus Center (TCC) at 3607 Trousdale Parkway.

For the conference space, the Tutor Center, try to park in PSX (Parking Structure X), Entrance 3 on Figueroa and McCarthy (between Jefferson and Exposition).

If the lot is full, try PSD (Parking Structure D), Entrance 4 at Jefferson and Royal between (Hoover and Figueroa)

People also have the option of parking offsite at the Shrine Auditorium (across the street from Parking Structure D on Jefferson and Royal). More info about offsite parking is available here.

Information on public transit to USC can be found here. More information TBA.