Music, Nation and Region in the Iberian Peninsula:

(Re)Sounding History, Identity and Heritage

Call for Papers

In the twenty-first century, scholarly debate regarding national vis-à-vis regional identities in the Iberian Peninsula has returned centre stage. Despite the pressures of globalisation that many believed would phase out the importance of the nation state and national belonging, the display of territorial identities has become more prominent across Europe. Music plays a powerful role in nationalism, functioning as a tool for state-level cultural policy and displays of national patrimony, as well as a political vehicle for the negotiation of national narratives.

The historical legacy and contemporary resurgence of nationalisms and regionalisms in the Iberian Peninsula has influenced the ways in which music is politicised and harnessed as a symbol of identity, collective memory and nostalgia. Moreover, the recent impact of international heritage policy, particularly through UNESCO’s Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, has strengthened the cultural and political significance of music especially at an institutional level bringing into question the ways in which musical ownership and value are negotiated. Finally, increased immigration in the Iberian Peninsula has diversified musical practice complicating the relationship between music and nation in increasingly multicultural societies.

This symposium aims to bring together scholars from a range of disciplines (e.g., ethnomusicology, musicology, popular music studies, Iberian cultural studies) to explore the complex relationship between music and nation in the Iberian Peninsula, and the island territories of Portugal and Spain. The committee welcomes papers that address the symposium’s themes from a historical or a contemporary, ethnographic perspective. The programme committee invites submissions that challenge or revisit established paradigms in Iberian music studies, addressing the following or related areas:

  • Rethinking music and nationalism in the Iberian Peninsula both past and present
  • Music and state-level cultural policy
  • Music and regionalism
  • Contesting the state: music as a political weapon
  • Music and UNESCO’s Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity: safeguarding processes, musical ownership, politics
  • Collective memory and nostalgia in musical practice and discourse
  • Music on and across border regions
  • Music, diaspora and immigration in national/regional contexts

Presentations will be in the form of independent papers (20 minutes + 10-minute discussion) and potential speakers should submit a 300-word abstract plus a short biography to It is hoped that there will be an edited publication of selected papers from the symposium.

DEADLINE FOR ABSTRACTS: 12th January 2017 (24:00 GMT)