So­cia­list Re­a­lism in Mu­sic, Glo­bal­ly

Online, 01.07.2022 

Deadline: 15.04.2022

A launch event for a new international research network hosted by the University of Cambridge and Universität Leipzig

Keynote speaker: Professor Marina Frolova-Walker FBA (University of Cambridge)

Almost a century since its inception, Socialist Realism remains a highly contested subject amongst musicologists who continue to disagree as to how to identify and define musical works as “socialist realist.” This is because, as the concept transversed social, cultural, and political boundaries over the course of the twentieth century, it assumed a multitude of forms and functions through its adaptation to local contexts, inspiring creative workers all over the world to grapple with the purpose of their art. The first of several such events planned by the conveners as part of a new international research network dedicated to the study of Socialist Realism globally, this launch conference seeks to interrogate how Socialist Realism has been understood beyond the immediate context in which it was developed, and to highlight how it has resonated – and continues to resonate – in music composed all over the world.

Adopting a global lens, this conference invites speakers to examine the intersections of Socialist Realism and music, especially in contexts that have yet to receive much scholarly attention. In so doing, this conference will confront the numerous ‘Socialist Realisms’ which have arisen globally over the past century, and interrogate their impact within and outside of the Soviet Bloc, nuancing our understandings of this term’s ever-evolving conceptual legacy.

Papers may address, but are not limited to, the following themes:

  • Socialist Realism from a transnational and transregional perspective
  • The latent impact of Socialist Realism in previously overlooked contexts from within and outside the Eastern Bloc
  • Conceptions of Socialist Realism in decolonial contexts
  • Critical reappraisal of existing scholarship
  • New methodologies for researching Socialist Realism
  • The disconnect between the theoretical conception and practical application of Socialist Realism in music across borders

We invite proposals for individual or co-authored paper presentations to by 15 April. Notification of acceptance will be sent by 20 May.

Guidelines for proposal submission:

  • Title and abstract of up to 250 words
  • Biography of no more than 150 words

By hosting this launch conference on Zoom, we hope to accommodate as many time zones as possible. We strongly encourage participants from across the globe to submit an abstract.

We look forward to hearing from you.
Alexandra Leonzini, Eirini Diamantouli, Ekaterina Pavlova, Patrick Becker-Naydenov