Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival

Music of Asian America

Music of Asian America:  History, Activism, and Collaborations
November 10 – 11, 2018
Philadelphia, PA
Co-sponsored by the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival and the Music of Asian America Research Center

What is “Asian American music”?  This is a question that Asian American musicians and others have asked since the 1970s.  Some argue that “Asian American music” is not only a useful political and heuristic device, but also a beneficial term for building a community of artists.  Others, however, have posited that we should not use this term because there is no distinctive musical style in music made by Asian Americans.

The 2018 Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival will highlight the music of Asian Americans.  It will include live concerts, screenings of music-oriented films, and a two-day conference on Asian American music on Nov. 10-11, 2018.  Presentations will occur on the University of Pennsylvania campus, and screenings on the conference days will either be on the University of Pennsylvania campus, or at the Lightbox Film Center in nearby International House Philadelphia.

For the conference, we invite scholars and performers to submit a 250-word abstract on any aspect of music created by Asian Americans.  Presentations can be individual research papers (30 minutes including discussion period), workshops (30 or 45 minutes), or roundtables (30 or 45 minutes).  Research on the music of Southeast and South Asian Americans is particularly welcome. Please be aware that the audience will be a mix of (ethno)musicologists, performers, media scholars, filmmakers, and the general public.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Has “Asian American music” been a useful and meaningful term in the past?  What about the present and the future?
  • What role does activism play in music created by Asian America?
  • What new perspectives have we gained on the music of the early Asian American Movement or Asian American jazz of the 1980s?
  • How has Afro-Asian musical collaboration changed over the past four decades?
  • What roles have traditional and folk musicians and University-based world music ensembles played in Asian American communities and Asian American activism?  
  • How have Asian American musicians participated in discussions of cultural appropriation?
  • Any research on music created by Asian Americans before the 1970s.

Submissions and questions about the conference should be sent to [email protected].  The deadline for submission is July 15, 2018, and notifications will be sent in early August.  Presenters will receive free conference registration, and a pass for all PAAFF 2018 events.