Popular Music Studies

Curator – Alexandra Kolesnik

Currently, popular music is not only an important component of contemporary popular culture, but also a significant part of world cultural history of the 20th century. From jazz to rock’n’roll, from beat-rock to heavy metal, from country to hip-hop, popular music combines many styles and genres rooted in different local, regional and national cultural contexts. Popular music often, and in many cases even more explicitly than cinema or literature, marks various social processes and transformations. Our fascination with popular music turned into research interest quite recently and for the last few years has become a new research field of the Centre. We investigate popular music as a complex cultural phenomenon and aim to consider how differently popular music is included in various social processes, such as demonstration of national identity, development of cultural tourism, or representation of the past. Our research is fundamentally interdisciplinary and includes methods of various disciplines, from sociology of culture and history to media and fan studies. We are interested both in understanding of the structure and functioning of popular music, as well as in case studies related to popular music and the city, musical geography, multimedia music projects, popular music and historical culture, etc. In 2012, the Centre launched an elective course “Let’s Rock: the Study of British Popular Music,” focused on contemporary popular music studies and history of popular music in Britain in all its diversity. Besides, the course aims to consider how to analyze the problems of modern culture through popular music, how to study music fan communities and fan practices and how to write about popular music in Russian.