The Power of Gods and the Forces of Nature - On Music and Popular Modernisms

Brar, Dhanveer Singh and Rekret, Paul. 2019. 'The Power of Gods and the Forces of Nature - On Music and Popular Modernisms'. In: Marxism in Culture. Institute of Advanced Studies, UCL, United Kingdom 24 May 2019. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

The notion that a popular modernism found its demise sometime in the early 1990s has been amongst the dominant organising ideas of music criticism over the past decade or so. Here, a truncated political imaginary is said to be reflected in an equally sterile culture, and especially in the aesthetic bankruptcy of its popular music. Of late however, it’s become almost as routine to anticipate popular music’s political renewal. In this talk, we seek to think against the grain of this dominant view and, oriented towards the history of racial capitalism, we examine a series of theoretical accounts of a popular modernism as it is developed in black diasporic music, including in the work of Greg Tate, Paul Gilroy, Fred Moten, Fumi Okiji and others. In doing so, we ask how popular music has been theorised in its relations to capitalism, and how we might understand the radical charge of its imperatives.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


popular music, popular modernism, black diasporic music, capitalism, music criticism

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Visual Cultures


24 May 2019Completed

Event Location:

Institute of Advanced Studies, UCL, United Kingdom

Date range:

24 May 2019

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

12 Aug 2019 11:58

Last Modified:

12 Aug 2019 11:58


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