It is with great pleasure (and apologies for cross-posting) that I would like to announce the programme of the upcoming 'Urban Nostalgia: The Musical City in the 19th and 20th Centuries' conference, which due to the Covid-19 outbreak will take place online.

5–7 July 2020

Centre de Recherches sur les Arts et le Langage (CRAL)

École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS, Paris)

Via Zoom (Central European Summer Time)

The aim of this conference is to explore space through music, approaching the history of the city via the notion of nostalgia. Often described as a form of homesickness, nostalgia is, by definition, the feeling that makes us wish to repossess or reoccupy a space. Such spaces appear to us as both near and distant, tangible and remote, and it seems that attempts at reclaiming them are frequently musical in nature. We know, for instance, that particular compositions have played important roles in helping people to navigate or mitigate a sense of displacement. In these circumstances, affective experiences may be bound up with trauma or joy, as is the case of song during wartime or musical imaginaries among migrants. Under other conditions, we might identify a ‘second-hand nostalgia’ in the guise of a musically-inflected tourism that seeks to reactivate (for pleasure and/or profit) the historical aura of an urban site. What are we to make of the abundance of personal, inter-personal, and propositional episodes that posit music as some kind of a bridge to the urban past?

Keynote by Richard Elliott, Newcastle University, 'Revisiting Old Haunts in a Time of Lockdown: Holiday Records, Virtuality and the Nostalgia Gap'. Respondent: Esteban Buch, CRAL / EHESS, Paris

Scientific committee: Esteban Buch (CRAL / EHESS, Paris); Jonathan Hicks (University of Aberdeen); Gascia Ouzounian (University of Oxford); Lola San Martín Arbide (CRAL / EHESS, Paris); Christabel Sterling (University of Westminster); Justinien Tribillon (Theatrum Mundi).

Organisation: Lola San Martín Arbide (CRAL / EHESS, Paris).

Full programme and details:

Register via Zoom at:

More information and updates: or at @lola_sanmartin on Twitter

Contact: musical.cities.2020 -at-

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