International Colloquium “Music and Postwar transitions”, 18th, 19th, 20th, October 2018, with the participation of Philippe Gumplowicz
The signing of a peace treaty does not necessarily coincide with the end of a war: this is the underlying premise of the concept of “postwar transition” developed by historians since the early 21st century. Contrary to traditional diplomatic history, research on postwar transition examines the restoration of peace from a dynamic perspective, as a complex process layering various timescales. While art has sometimes been factored into this research, music has, until now, been absent. Yet the transition from war to peace can also be observed through the reorganization of music scenes and the production of musical works. Musical creation, practices, and sociality, the canonization of new repertoire or the renewed programming of iconic works can facilitate the process of cultural demobilization or, on the contrary, hinder it. The “Music and Postwar Transitions (19th-21st Centuries)” conference seeks to fill this historiographic void, at least partially, by exploring transversal questions that can apply to all peace restoration contexts: how do musical institutions (orchestras, conservatories, publishing houses) reorganize themselves after a conflict? How do musical practices contribute (or respond) to identity-related readjustments inherent to postwar situations, and how can they be mobilized to support international relations in a geopolitical space undergoing redefinition? How, finally, can music play a part in the grieving process that inevitably follows all armed conflicts, and how can it foster peace restoration? These fundamental questions will be explored not only in around forty paper presentations, but also by way of a lecture-recital that will allow the issues of the conference to be explored in music through the still largely overlooked repertoire of popular Parisian songs written after the Franco-Prussian War.