Call for papers: Routledge Companion to Popular Music and Politics of the Balkans

deadline for submissions: 
November 30, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Catherine Baker, University of Hull
contact email: 

Call for papers: Routledge Companion to Popular Music and Politics of the Balkans

Edited by Catherine Baker

This companion or handbook seeks to provide a comprehensive introduction to the vibrant and interdisciplinary field of research into popular music and politics in the Balkans, explaining the state of key questions and debates which have shaped the field so far while also signalling the many new developments and directions that have emerged in response to recent political, socio-economic and cultural dislocations.

Recognising that both ‘popular music’ and ‘the Balkans’ represent categories with extremely fluid and contested boundaries – and that struggles over them have been a central concern for many scholars of the topic – the volume understands both concepts very broadly: ‘popular music’ can encompass any music which interacts with mass media and entertainment in some way, and the volume will not impose a prescriptive geographical definition of ‘the Balkans’ – all contributors who perceive their topic as relevant to debates about popular music and the Balkans are welcome to express interest, even if its geographical area would not fit neatly within all concepts of ‘the Balkans’ as a space. Equally, some chapters might not necessarily centre on activities which their practitioners would define as ‘popular music’ if they help to illuminate the contexts in which popular music and the politics surrounding it are and have been experienced in the Balkans and its diasporas.

Chapters in the volume will be up to 8,000 words long (including references) and must not have been previously published. Reflecting the many scholarly lenses that have contributed to the study of popular music and politics in the Balkans, the disciplinary range of the volume is likely to span, but not be limited to, history; sociology; anthropology; ethnomusicology; media and cultural studies; popular music studies; performance studies; visual and audiovisual studies; cultural heritage; politics and international relations; languages and literatures; and perspectives from music practitioners. The volume is in development and is subject to submission of a successful proposal to Routledge at the beginning of 2022.

Within this general call for contributions, some topics where proposals would be particularly welcome at this stage of developing the volume include:

  • Historical examples from periods earlier than 1945
  • Popular musical connections with the Global South during state socialism
  • Fresh approaches to well-known developments of the 1990s (e.g. ‘world music’ and postsocialism; music and the Milošević regime in Serbia)
  • Neotraditional musicians as populist political actors
  • Music and left-wing/anti-fascist activism (e.g. ‘new left’ social movements; anti-fascist rap and Pavlos Fyssas)
  • ‘Global Blackness’, and/or articulations of Blackness in Balkan contexts, through popular music
  • Impact of mobile and digital technologies, including Spotify and other streaming platforms
  • The political economy of touring, recording, television and/or airplay
  • New perspectives on Romani expression and activism through popular music
  • Jewish participation and presence in popular music
  • Popular music and COVID-19

To express interest in contributing, please ideally send a working title, a 250-word abstract and a 100-word biographical note to Catherine Baker (cbakertw1@googlemail.com) before 30 November 2021. If you are seriously interested in contributing but would not have time to submit a full abstract due to heavy institutional workload or care pressures during the pandemic, please send a working title and an informal note of what you would propose to contribute, plus a link to a relevant previous publication of yours if applicable.

Estimated timeline:

  • Abstracts due 30 November 2021
  • Authors notified 17 December 2021
  • Final proposal submitted to Routledge 31 January 2022
  • Potential contract spring 2022
  • Chapters due to editor August 2022
  • Revised versions of chapters due December 2022