Performing Diaspora 2013: The History of Urban Music in Toronto – CFP

See below for a Call for Papers.

Performing Diaspora 2013: The History of Urban Music in Toronto, is a one day conference event focused on the development of the African Canadian Urban Music culture industry of post-WWII Toronto. In keeping with its mandate, “Spotlighting and Promoting African Canadian Experiences” (S.P.A.C.E.), a collaborative research and social innovation programme of the Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on the Global Migrations of African Peoples, will use this conference as a way by which to collect and provide access to individual and collective memories and contemporary records about members of the African Diaspora in Canada. As such, this one day conference will feature the work of academics, and experiences of musicians, industry and media professionals, in an effort to highlight the development and sustenance of African Canadian music in Toronto, as well as throughout Canada.

The conference will include four sessions, each of which will consider the histories and developments of Urban Music within the greater Toronto area. The two morning sessions (the first, a presentation of academic papers and the second, a roundtable that features notable artists and music production professionals) will focus on the personal and professional experiences of racialized artists across the course of Urban Music’s development in Toronto and across Canada. The two afternoon sessions, (the first, a presentation of academic papers and the second, a roundtable that features notable journalists, record label executives, radio and television personalities) will focus on the development of a genre-specific Urban Music industry within the broader Canadian culture industry. Though the focus of this conference will be music, each panel will use the genre of “urban culture” in order to explore the genre’s relationship to issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, the body, immigration, multiculturalism, discrimination, urban development, notions of citizenship (both within the nation and within the musical community of Canada), and the benefits, challenges and poltics of creating, sustaining and performing music that represents people of African decent in Toronto.

This is a public event hosted at York University in Toronto on May 25, 2013. Check the website for information about the program and registration in the months ahead:


We are seeking proposals for the 2013 edition of Performing Diaspora: The History of Urban Music in Toronto. We encourage papers from a wide range of academic disciplines and methodological backgrounds. In addition, those papers that are accepted will be included in a Performing Diaspora publication of working papers, published at a later date following the one-day conference.

This year, the focus of our conference will be on the history of urban music, particularly Hip Hop, as it has developed in the geographical context of post-WWII Toronto, between the latter 1970s and the mid-1990s. We will be accepting papers on the following themes and topics (as they intersect with the history of Urban Music in Toronto):

The Music Industry and Technology (record labels, radio, television, print and social media); Race, Ethnicity, and Identity; Gender, Sexuality, and the Body; Urban Studies; Nation, Nation-building and Multiculturalism; Popular Culture and Consumerism; Migration and Diaspora; Work, Class, and Community

Applicants are invited to submit a 250-word proposal for individual papers. Submissions must be accompanied by a short biographical statement and email contact information. The deadline for submissions is February 1, 2013.

Please direct submissions to Francesca D’Amico at:



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