Popular Music and Memory in Film (Society for Cinema and Media Studies, Boston, March 21-25, 2012)

full name / name of organization: 
Katherine Spring / Wilfrid Laurier University
contact email: 

Popular music in film has been said to trigger, construct, and reinforce memory in terms both general (e.g., music as collective cultural memory; as transcultural or "universal" language; etc.) and localized (e.g., the song hook as memorable leitmotif). Less frequently considered is how popular music may function as a means by which the act of memory itself is represented on the screen.

To what extent does popular music serve as a privileged vehicle for the cinematic representation of memory? How might the contested definition of what is "popular" alter this representation? How is the cinematic representation of memory conditioned differently by the appropriation of preexisting popular music versus popular music that is composed newly for a film? To what extent do contemporary theories of prosthetic or post-memory contribute to an understanding of the intersection of popular music and memory in film?

We welcome papers that consider these and related questions in a variety of contexts, including historical periods, institutional settings, national and transnational cinemas, and film genres and modes. While our focus remains on film studies, we invite papers whose subjects intersect with musicology and the emergent field of memory studies.

Please send a 250-word abstract with five bibliographic sources and a brief author bio to Russell Kilbourn (rkilbourn@wlu.ca) or Katherine Spring (kspring@wlu.ca) by August 8, 2011. Participants will be notified of their acceptance by August 15. Conference participants must be members of SCMS.