Pop Conference

A collective conversation between fans, musicians, scholars and journalists.

  1. Canadian throat singer Tanya Tagaq gave a live performance as part of Saturday’s roundtable at Pop Con 2017.

  2. Special guest David Byrne spoke with MoPOP Artistic Director Jasen Emmons about the intersection of music and politics and his musical Here Lies Love.

  3. Pop Conference 2017 explored the intersection of music and politics through presentations on ranging from “Stevie Wonder’s Synthesizer Dreams” to “Girl Group Transnationalism.”


APRIL 26–29, 2018

Popular music can voice or challenge gender assumptions, whether it’s drag queen crooners of the 1930s, Britney Spears as feminine ideal, or Muddy Waters and Bruce Springsteen as the workingman hero.

Pop music also often serves as a haven for gender-fluid groundbreakers like Annie Hindle, Little Richard, and, more recently, Anohni and Syd. Even musical virtuosity and technique can be gendered, from rock’s technophallic guitar heroics to disco's feminized vocals.

This year’s diverse presenters will explore music and gender across many eras and categories including  feminism, queer pop, masculinity, black music, genres, futurism, instrumentation, and religion.

Support for the conference is provided by the University of Alabama College of Arts & Sciences, on behalf of the Department of American Studies.


 View the Pop Conference 2018 schedule & directory.


TH 2:00pm–7:00pm

FRI/SAT 9:00am–7:15pm

SUN 9:00am–12:45pm


4-Day Tickets
$28 General
$25 MoPOP Members
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Presenter registration

Program Committee Members

Regina Bradley, Kennesaw State University; Franklin Bruno (Independent scholar, Nothing Painted Blue/Human Hearts); Ashon Crawley, University of Virginia; Geeta Dayal (Independent journalist and critic); Loren Kajikawa, University of Oregon; Anna Kronzer, MoPOP; Jenn Pelly, Pitchfork; Ann Powers, NPR; Matt Sakakeeny, Tulane University; Deborah Paredez, Columbia University; Eric Weisbard, University of Alabama


About Popcon

The annual Pop Conference at MoPOP, first held in 2002, mixes together ambitious music writing of every kind, to bring academics, critics, musicians, and dedicated fans into a collective conversation.