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Ruth Adams: English national identity expressed through popular music

Ruth Adams recently gave two quite contrasting conference papers, which both focused on how English national identity is expressed through popular music.


The first paper was called  ‘“God Save the Queen” – The Sex Pistols: Traitors or Improbable Patriots?’ and examined the unlikely but on-going relationship between the most notorious of British punk bands and the British monarchy. Ruth presented this paper at a conference entitled ‘New Elizabethans 1953-2013: Nation, Culture and Modern Identity’, which was held at Senate House from 13 to 15 June. You can find out more about the event here:  Keynote speakers included the cultural historian Robert Hewison, the playwright Edward Bond, and the theatre director Richard Eyre, who made some controversial comments about the Queen’s contribution to the arts, or rather lack of it:

Mad dogs

Ruth’s second paper explored contemporary urban culture and was called ‘“Home sweet home, that’s where I come from, where I got my knowledge of the road and the flow from”: Grime as an expression of the local in postcolonial London’.  She presented this at ‘Mad Dogs and Englishness: Popular Music & English Identities’, hosted by St Mary’s University College, Twickenham, on the 20 and 21 June. Keynote speakers included Rupa Huq and Sheila Whiteley, familiar names to students of youth subcultures, and the topics of papers ranged from folk music and Morris dancing, to David Bowie, ‘Britpop’ and the Beatles. You can find more details about the conference here: and listen to a Spotify playlist compiled by the participants here:

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