"Brave new ideas begin": Disability and gender in twenty-first-century pop
Lady Gaga’s recent revelations about her chronic health conditions and the way they have affected her ability to fulfil her global touring schedule have highlighted some of the issues faced by disabled women forging a career in the pop music industry. Singers Mandy Harvey (USA), Viktoria Modesta (UK), and the Sisters of Invention (Australia) represent a range of pop styles and attitudes, but each puts the experience of disability and gender at the centre of their performance. In this presentation, I explore the way these contemporary female disabled artists in Anglophone pop use their creative output to articulate views on disability and activism, through life-writing, visual representation, and their engagement with the public as well as in their music.
Laurie Stras is Research Professor of Music at the University of Huddersfield and Professor Emerita of Music at the University of Southampton. She is co-director of the early music ensemble Musica Secreta. Her work focuses on the female singers of the Renaissance and in popular music, using a range of critical lenses including historical musicology, performance, and disability studies. Her articles have appeared in JAMS, Early Music, Early Music History, Popular Music, and JSAM; she has edited two books for Ashgate, She’s So Fine: Reflections on Whiteness, Femininity, Adolescence and Class in 1960s Music, and Eroticism in Early Modern Music (with Bonnie Blackburn). Her monograph Women and Music in Sixteenth-Century Ferrarais published by Cambridge University Press. She is the recipient of awards from the American Musicological Society, the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women, the UK National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement, and ASCAP.