2023 Pop Conference Call for Presentations
“Let’s Get it Together”: Gatherings, Club Cultures, Parties, and Beyond

April 27-30, 2023

The Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University is happy to return as the host of this year’s in-person Pop Conference. All events, with the exception of a few remotely scheduled activities, will be held at The Clive Davis Institute, 370 Jay Street, Brooklyn, New York. 


Several years of quarantine and social distancing have set ablaze the desire to gather safely in community in the midst of an ongoing pandemic. This year’s convergence compels a reflection on the power of getting together in the past and present while acknowledging the necessity for new ways of congregating. So, “Let’s get it together!” Let's get loud, because we need a holiday, a holy day on the dance floor or beyond. Remember when the DJ dropped the beat, the crowd went wild, and you felt the club vibrating as you showed up in your best outfit? Work! Inside, a kaleidoscope of bodies dancing, watching, sweating, kissing, touching. Music transports, envelops, heals, connects, the dance floor (whatever that looks like!) becomes a classroom, where learning to play with gender, perform experimental versions of self is possible. Where being in communion among strangers, friends or lovers compels gatherers to sweat out the tears, bring in the joy, feel the pleasure. “Can you feel it?,” the desire for sacred spaces of communal celebration in a time of flux.

Gathering to celebrate is and has been a key technique for many to continuously resist land occupation, dehumanization and policing of their existence. From the cabaret, juke joint, hootenanny and honkytonk to the punk pit, rave, tango ballroom. From break dancing, salsa, norteña or 1990s quebradita to the remixed sounds of traditional Pow Wow music and electronica, club cultures, broadly and poetically defined for this call, have launched and sustained innumerable styles of music and dance. From festivals to backyard parties and Tea dances to BBQs, ballrooms, community centers, parking lots and cars, abandoned warehouses, dive bars, circuit parties, parties in the forest, swap meet dance competitions, fairy gatherings, and queer ritual, we wanna dance. At the club or other gathering spaces, yet to be manifest, we can enter the sequined portal Mexican pop diva Gloria Trevi sings us through.

This call for presentations explodes and expands the idea of “the club” as strictly physical, locatable, enclosed, and opens up to the unenclosed, ephemeral–the “club” as what we want it to be. Walls crumble and sounds expand through music, memory, affect, the resonance of vibrations, lingering remembrances of scent and stench, the unrelenting histories of subjugation, relocation, and dislocation, pulsing through every beat, stomp of a foot, clap of a hand.

“Don'tcha wanna dance, say you wanna dance, don'tcha wanna dance.”

We do.

You won’t break my soul. 

Fugitive spaces of joy, pleasure and sweat, have been and still are sites of political organizing and collectivity, as “[d]ance sets politics in motion” (Delgado and Muñoz). How have gatherings, then and now, functioned as a community resource? How are local communities recovering histories of nightclubs and makeshift gathering spots that have disappeared or shuttered too early by forces of gentrification or what Amin Ghazzani has described as “the increased financialization of the urban environment”? As many make their way through life during a constant state of emergency under capitalism with health emergencies, pandemics, structural violence, police brutality, environmental injustice, grief, loss, hate –many still make space to celebrate by connecting. What role have club cultures, dance floors and party spaces of all kinds play in a certain kind of erotic release? Finally, can party spaces, even virtual ones, reproduce the systems many are trying to escape, and how, in an on-going pandemic, is it possible to hold  the dance floor as a space of repair, regeneration and release?

This call for papers doubles as an invitation to party in-person, safely, as we remember this pandemic is not yet over. Yes! This is a celebration of life and love and all the other feels, a moment in the DJ booth. Let's get it together, a renaissance for all who need it. Let’s walk into a sequined world twirling to the beat. 

We encourage innovative and experimental submission formats including but not limited to:

●      live modular performances and other live / movement performance practices

●      VJing

●      video work

●      sound work

●      fashion films

●      spoken word

●      sonic-spatial tours of the city

●      Conversations with pioneers of musical gathering

Topics can include but are not limited to:


Party favors


Outdoor gatherings

Venue Closures

The Last Song

Sound systems



Virtual Dance Parties

Native club nights

Pow Wow meets EDM

Lesbian Spaces

Sacred gatherings

The Remix

Savoy Ballroom, Paradise Garage, and Other Legendary Dance Floors

Club Fashion

After Hours / The After Party

Club Lighting


Tea Dances

Dance and Choreography

Queer Time at Night



Sonic Geographies


DJ Culture and DJ Technologies

Dramaturgy of the night

Strip Clubs

Heavy metal parking lots

Femmeness as abundance

Digital culture as refuge

Electronic Dance Music: disco, house, techno, vogue beats


Fan culture

Body politic/fashion


And more!!

Proposals are due December 15, 2022

Upload RTF or Word files (no PDFs) to bit.ly/popconproposal2023 so that the conference organizer Eddy Francisco Alvarez Jr. and the program committee can access proposals.

Proposals are limited to one per person (participation on a roundtable does not count towards that limit). Individual proposals should be up to 300 words, with a 75-word bio. For multiple person proposals, include a one-paragraph overview and individual statements of up to 300 words with a 75-word bio for each participant. For roundtables, outline the subject in up to 500 words, include a 75-word bio and email contact for each participant.

For all proposals, please describe how you plan on presenting in regard to style/format. If accepted, virtual presentations must be pre-recorded.

Questions? Send them to popconproposal2023@gmail.com

2023 Pop Programming Committee: Eddy Francisco Alvarez Jr., Madison Moore, Michelle Habell-Pallán, Charles Hughes, Jewly Hight



in collaboration with NYU's Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music presents

When I Think of Home: Race and Borders in Popular Music

April 21-24, 2022

Hosted by New York University's Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, this year's Pop Conference—celebrating its 20th anniversary — is a free, four-day online event dedicated to all things pop music. Presenters will deliver papers, and conduct roundtable conversations, mentorship sessions, talks and performances on the subject of home and how it intersects with ideas of race and borders.

More about this year's theme: Over the past two years of on-and-off social restrictions, some people have felt 'stuck' at home, and have had to revise their practice of listening to music. Some people have had the renewed opportunity to explore what home sounds like, and what home means—materially, culturally, and in ways that are utterly personal. Home is a place that can, for some, represent security that feels less a given than before; it can be a right that many do not enjoy; it can be a nexus of struggle in a time of gentrification, economic transformation, conflict over indigenous homelands. For some, home is a place it can be necessary to leave; and for others it is one, as Stephanie Mills made clear, it sure would be nice to get back to.

While pursuing a theme for this year’s conference, the Pop Conference programming committee also kept coming back to the relationship of music and race – race as a form of categorization, as a basis of genre supremacies and the erasure of voices, legacies; race as a marker of the exotic or forbidden. The topic of borders and border crossings, too, both national and personal, emerged forcefully in the committee’s pursuit of a theme – borders as establisher and destroyer of categories, hierarchies, constructions of the Other. Both race and borders seem crucial to the discussion of music today and the time feels right to center these topics at the Pop Conference’s twenty-year juncture.

The Conference opens on Thursday April 21st with a special event and a keynote starting at 7 pm ET. The Conference then continues on Friday April 22nd, Saturday April 23rd and Sunday April 24th for exciting slates of all-day events.

The full schedule is now live: you may visit it here.

2022 Pop Conference Programming Committee: RJ Smith (writer), Regina Bradley (Kennesaw State University), Markus K. Dowling (writer), Steacy Easton (writer & artist), Jason King (Chair, New York University’s Clive Davis Institute), Kimberly Mack (Univ. of Toledo), Amanda Marie Martinez (UCLA), Paula Mejía (Texas Monthly), Elizabeth Nelson (writer, The Paranoid Style), Jessica Bissett Perea (UC Davis). This year’s Pop Conference is produced by RJ Smith and Jason King.

Pop Conference is generously supported by Critical Minded, a granting and learning initiative cofounded by The Nathan Cummings Foundation and The Ford Foundation to support cultural critics of color in the United States, where they are underrepresented in the coverage of all artistic disciplines.

Register Here! You will receive your attendance password closer to the date of the opening event or the morning of.

Visit https://www.popconference.org

Full Schedule: https://popcon2022.sched.com/

Twitter/Instagram: @popconorg

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/groups/popconorg

Hashtag: #popcon2022