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Call for Papers – BTS: A Global Interdisciplinary Conference Project

The call for papers has been issued for the long-planned conference on BTS:

Call for Papers – BTS: A Global Interdisciplinary Conference Project

Kingston University, January 4-5, 2020

BTS Love Yourself Speak Yourself poster

Korean boy group BTS are the first ever Korean act to perform at Wembley Stadium as part of their Love Yourself: Speak Yourself world tour. Debuting in 2013 under Big Hit Entertainment, BTS initially struggled to gain recognition in Korea as they didn’t come from one of the big three Korean entertainment companies. However, the last few years have seen BTS become the most internationally successful Korean act of all time, amassing not only domestic awards but prestigious US awards including The Best Duo/Group at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards. Their recent sold-out concerts at Wembley clearly delineate BTS as a dominant force in global music and within popular culture.  This inclusive inter- and multi-disciplinary conference seeks to examine the success and popularity of BTS from a variety of academic, practice, and fan-based perspectives.

This ethos of this conference is to bring together academics, fans and practitioners in a supportive and inclusive space to talk, debate and to share ideas about BTS. This is a hierarchy-free space in which everyone’s views are valued equally. Issues may relate to music, visual art, performance art, culture, fashion and so on. We hope this is a truly interdisciplinary event. It is anticipated that there will be a fan and/or student strand in addition to an exhibition of fan work with a prize for the best entry. Keynote Speaker will be Professor Lee Jiyoung of Sejong University, author of BTS, Art Revolution.

Submissions are welcomed across a range of topics including, but not limited to:

  • Translation and Glocalization including fan translation practices
  • World-building and the BTS’ Universe
  • Tradition and Modernity in BTS’s art
  • Fan fiction, fan art and fan practices
  • Fandom, girl’s culture and cultural value
  • Hallyu, Web 2.0 and online fandom
  • Diversity and inclusivity
  • Participatory culture and fandom
  • Fandom wars and internal conflict between old and new fans
  • Blackness and BTS
  • Desire and agency
  • UNICEF and the #LoveYourself and #SpeakYourself campaigns
  • ‘Soft’ Masculinity and emotionality
  • Intersectional practices and identities: gender, sexuality, race, age, dis/ability, interculturality
  • Frameworks of interpretations: personal, psychological, cultural materialist, philosophical, feminist etc.
  • Personal narratives of belonging
  • Mental Health awareness
  • BTS, Hip-Hop and Hybridity
  • Music Videos: Aesthetics and Attributes
  • Multimedia musical performance
  • KPOP and BTS (is BTS KPOP?)
  • Marketing, Branding, Tourism

Proposals are welcomed for traditional 20-minute presentations together with poster presentations, creative projects, exhibits, roundtables, and workshops on any aspect of BTS. If this is your first time at an academic conference, please be assured that you will be on a panel  that is appropriate with an experienced chair. If you wish to submit fan-based work for consideration for the prize, details will be supplied on request.

Submission Guidelines

  • Proposal for an academic paper presentation or poster presentation: title, abstract (up to 250 words) plus short biography (150 words)
  • Proposal for a panel (up to 4 presenters): title, description of panel (400 words), abstract of each individual paper (maximum of 4) and short biography of each panelist (150 words)
  • Proposal for a workshop, discussion or roundtable: title, description of panel (400 words), and short biography of each participant (150 words)
  • Proposal for a creative panel: title, description of panel (400 words), and short biography of each participant (150 words)

The conference committee welcomes your participation and questions.

Conference Committee

  • Dr. Colette Balmain (chair), Kingston University
  • Dr. Helen Julia Minors, Kingston University
  • Dr. Morimoto, Independent Scholar
  • Eugene Kim, Kingston University
  • Mehneer Dhillon, Kingston University

Please send submissions as word attachments to an email to Colette Balmain, [email protected] with BTS Conference 2020 as the title.

Deadline: 16th August 2019

Notification of decision: 31st August 2019


Selected peer reviewed papers from the conference will go forward to an edited book entitled: BTS: Intersectional Practice, Globalization and Performance Art, edited by Drs. Colette Balmain, Helen Julia Minors and Lori Morimoto.

Please indicate in your conference proposal submission whether you would like your abstract also as part of the book proposal.

Papers will be between 6,000 – 8,000 words inclusive of references. Please use Chicago style guides. Endnotes, and not footnotes, are requested. 150 word biographies are required. Chapters are allowed no more than one black and white illustration and authors are responsible for confirming copyright permissions are gained prior to the chapter deadline. The inclusion of web links in the text is encouraged. The publication will use UK English.

Deadline: 20th March 2020

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