Provisional Programme

(Provisional programme)

The conference takes place at the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts at the University of Sussex




1.30 – 2.00   Gardner Tower – Registration and Refreshments

2.00 – 2.15   ACCA Auditorium – Welcome!


2.15 – 3.30    ACCA Auditorium – Keynote Presentation:

Melissa Blanco Borelli, “Put Your Body In It”: Disco, Divas, and Dance Studies


3.30 – 4.00     Gardner Tower – Refreshment Break


4.00 – 6.00     ACCA Auditorium:

Sylvester and Disco Culture: The Artist, Icon, Diva in His Time and Ours

Host: Joshua Gamson

Malik Gaines, You Are My Friend: Intimacy and Sylvester’s Disco

Jason King, You Are My Friend: Sylvester’s 1979 Living Proof Album as a Document of Social Compassion

Adrian Loving, Glam Rock Fantasy to Black Futurism: A Portrait of Sylvester in Album Cover Art

Louis Niebur, Menergy: Sylvester and the Creation of the San Francisco Disco Sound

David McAlmont, The Sound of Sylvester


6.00 – 7.15    ACCA Bar – Wine Reception

7.30 onwards  Conference get-together –  All welcome at The Pond




9.00 – 9.30    Gardner Tower – Registration and Refreshments


9.30 – 10.45    ACCA Auditorium- Keynote Presentation:

Tim Lawrence, Counterculture, Postindustrial Creativity, the 1970s Dance Floor and… Disco


10.45 – 11.15     Gardner Tower- Refreshment Break


11.15 – 1.00    Parallel Sessions 1 & 2


Session 1:

Jane Attenborough Studio

Marko Zubak, Disco in Eastern Europe: Mainstreaming Socialist Decadence

Flora Pitrolo, I Wanna Be Fantastic World: The Mass Fantasy of Italo Disco

Greg Booth, Disco, Dancing, Globalisation: Indigeneity and Class in 1980s Hindi Cinema

Chair: Michael Lawrence


Session 2:

Workshop Studio

Caroline Kennedy, Rain, Glitter: The Disco Song as a Conceptual Space in Song-Based Music Composition

John Richardson & Stephen Woodward, Life in the City Can Be So Hard: Disco and Anomie

Jaap Kooijman, Hotter Than Hell: Heaven as Metaphor in Pre- and Post-AIDS Disco

Chair: Laura Nash


1.00 – 2.00     Gardner Tower – Lunch


Jane Attenborough Studio – Screening:

(Tell Me Why) The Epistemology of Disco

John Di Stefano, US, 1991: 24 minutes


2.00 – 4.00    Parallel Sessions 3 & 4


Session 3: 

Jane Attenborough Studio

Eliot D’Silva & Andrew Key, Partying in the Provinces

Laura Nash & Andrew Virdin, No Sneakers: Disco’s Influence on Early Hip-Hop

Lesley Model, Countering Copyright: The Disco Edit

Chair: Mimi Haddon


Session 4:

Workshop Studio

Louis Niebur, The National Tea Dance: The Forging of a Unified Gay Identity

Jack Parlett, The First Days of Disco: Queer Nostalgia in Andrew Holleran’s Fire Island

Leon Clowes, Got Any Gay Music? London’s ‘Anti-Gay’ Queer Clubs 1995-2000

Çağrı Yilmaz, Not Gay in the Disco: Amusing Themselves to Death

Chair: Joe Wlodarz


4.00 – 4.30      Gardner Tower- Refreshment Break


4.30 – 6.15     Parallel Sessions 5 & 6


Session 5:

Jane Attenborough Studio

Lucas Hilderbrand, Further Tales of the City: The Queer Generation Gap in Post-Disco San Francisco

Craig Jennex, Cruising the Historical Dance Floor: Temporal Drag and the Promise of Queer Collectivity

Alexin Tenefrancia, Queer Nightlife as Art, Community and Practice

Chair: Michael Lawrence


Session 6

Workshop Studio

Daniel Kane, ‘Let’s Go Down Where the Love Is’: Arthur Russell, Allen Ginsberg and the Making of Hippie Disco

Inger Damsholt, Let the Music Take Control: Disco, Choreomusicology, and the Anxiety of Mickey Mousing

Tamara Tomić-Vajagić, Disco-or-Not-Disco

Chair: Arabella Stanger


6.15 – 6.30 – Comfort Break


6.30 – 7.00     Workshop Studio – performance:

Scott Caruth, Refractions In Biography


7.15 – 11.00     ACCA Bar – Dinner and Disco!




10.00 – 10.30:      Gardner Tower – Registration and Refreshments


10.30 – 12.30  Parallel Sessions 7 & 8


Session 7

Jane Attenborough Studio

Mimi Haddon, Death Disco not Death to Disco: Mainstream Music and the Racialised Body in Post-Punk’s Borrowing from Disco

Chelsea Adewunmi, Make It Last Forever: Boogie and the Afterglow of Disco

Jared Gampel, Modern Funk as Postmodern Disco

Adrian Loving, Making of a DJ: Memoirs by Ron Trent of Chicago’s Early Club Scene

Chair: Keith Gildart


Session 8

Workshop Studio

Alex Jeffery, Once Upon A Time in Discoland: Donna Summer’s Transnational Fairy Tale Concept Album-Dancefloor

Joe Wlodarz, Macho, Macho Men: Village People and the Crossover of the Gay Clone

Marie Josephine Bennett, I Bet He Looks Good on the Dancefloor: Queering/ Unqueering John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever

Claudia Lisa Moeller, Rafaella Carra: The Sexual Disco Revolution for the Whole Family

Chair: John Richardson


12.30 – 1.30       Gardner Tower – Lunch


Jane Attenborough Studio – Screening:

(Tell Me Why) The Epistemology of Disco

John Di Stefano, US, 1991: 24 minutes


1.30 – 3.30   Parallel Sessions 9 & 10


Session 9

Jane Attenborough Studio

Keith Gildart & Rosalind Watkiss, The English Civil (Disco) War 1976-1981: Northern Soul, Subculture and Saturday Night Fever

Mark E. Perry, Disco Sucks: The Decline and Fall of Disco Music

Jakub Machek, From Disco-Games to Disco-Story: The Role of Disco in the Late Socialist Czechoslovakia

Qian Wang, Dancing the Desire, Dancing the Revolution: Sexuality and Politics of Disco in 1980s and 2010s China

Chair: Tamara Tomić-Vajagić


Session 10

Workshop Studio

Ivan L. Munuera, Discotecture: The Bodily Regime of Archi-Social Exploration

Kathe Gray, Stayin’ Alive: A Conversation Between Disco and Neoliberalism

Michael Castelle, If Love is the Message, What is the Transaction: On the Downtown Duality of Disco and Finance

Michael Lawrence, Burn, Baby, Bun: Disco Dancing and Aerobic Exercise – Working It and Working Out

Chair: Lucas Hilderbrand


3.30 – 4.00      Gardner Tower – Refreshment Break


4.00 – 5.30        ACCA Auditorium – Roundtable

Disco: Women and Girls Fantasise

Chelsea Adewunmi, Sara Jane Bailes, Lesley Model, Flora Pitrolo

Chair: Arabella Stanger


5.30 – 6.00         ACCA Auditorium

Closing Discussion


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