On Friday 17th October 2014, Laudan Nooshin was invited to present a paper at the conference ‘Classical Music, Critical Challenges’, held at King’s College London. The paper was entitled ‘Classical Music and Its Others: The View from Iran’, and explored one of the central themes of the conference – how classical music’s hegemonic status is produced and maintained – focused on the reception of western classical music in Iran. The paper examined the ways in which the discourses around western classical music in Iran have served to establish and maintain the music’s prestige and authority. Laudan traced the arrival of western classical music in Iran in the mid-19th century, through its later mobilisation as a symbol of modernity in the 1930s, and more recently how the music has come to be understood as a form of ‘universal’ expression which transcends geographical and cultural boundaries.
The conference, which was attended by about 80 people, was organised by Anna Bull (Goldsmiths, University of London) and Christina Scharff (King’s College London) and was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Goldsmiths, University of London.