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U2 Studies Alert | CFP: FPRC Conference Fame and Fandom: Functioning On and Offline. Dec. 8-10, 2019. UWA, Perth, Western Australia.

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FPRC Conference Fame and Fandom: Functioning On and Offline
December 8-10, 2019
Perth, Western Australia
The University of Western Australia

Keynote speaker: Professor P. David Marshall.

Media is dependent on consumers. Celebrities are reliant on fans and mass media. One cannot exist without the other. However, in academia there is a divide between fan studies and celebrity studies. This conference aims to draw these fields together by uniting fan studies, celebrity studies, media, film and television, advertising, marketing, Internet studies, education, politics and any other field.

We invite you to look at what on and offline platforms offer fans and celebrities in terms of moments of interaction, presentation/shaping of persona (both fan and celebrity), and agency. How are fans consuming, creating and/or sharing content? Why are celebrities important to the fans? What can celebrity status achieve? Can they be activists, endorsers, promoters or more? What legacy do they leave behind? How can they influence change in society and politics? Does the Australian film and television industry differ to others? How does distance impact on Australian fans?

Attendees may present papers or create a roundtable discussion on the themes of celebrity, fandom, social media or Australian fan culture.

Roundtables you can apply to join include:

  • Reality Behind Reality TV – inviting actual reality TV stars to present their experiences
  • Manufacturing Minogue – discussing the fashion and brand behind Kylie Minogue
  • Discovering Disney: Fans as Creators

Potential roundtables you could form:

  • Michael Jackson: Falling Icon and Fighting Fans
  • Digital Distance: Bringing Australian fans closer
  • Diversity in Australian Television: Cleverman, Dead Lucky, East West 101

Or create your own theme and form a panel.

Extended versions of selected papers will be published in a peer-reviewed edited book by University of Iowa Press.

We will be holding an exclusive book launch as a part of our welcoming drinks on December 8, commencing 6pm at 399 Bar in Northbridge.

Registration includes: Your printed conference package, welcome drinks and food, catered lunch, coffee / tea breaks, eligibility to publish in edited book, and consideration for the best paper award. Register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fame-and-fandom-functioning-on-and-offline-tickets-59682231160

Submission guidelines:

  • 200-word abstract or workshop / roundtable proposal
  • Include a title, your name, e-mail address, and affiliation if applicable
  • Submit to conference Chairs Dr Jackie Raphael and Dr Celia Lam at email address: cjcelebrityresearch@gmail.com
  • Deadline for abstract submission: June 17, 2019
  • Notification of acceptance: June 25, 2019
  • Early bird registrations open: June 25, 2019
  • Full text due: October 1, 2019
  • Pre-Conference reception and book launch: December 8, 2019 (6pm-11pm)
  • Conference presentations: December 9-10, 2019 (full days)
  • Estimated publication of edited book: 2021

Other topics include but are not limited to:

Fandom and Audiences
Fan Fiction
Celebrity – Fan Interaction
Fan Forums
Cosplay and conventions
Australian Fandom
Australian Television, Film and Music
Feminist Identities
Gender and Power
Race and Fandom
Whitewashing in Films
Celerity fall from Grace
Celebrity Activism and Philanthropy
Celebrity Endorsements and Advertising
Icons and Status
Branding and Identity
Politics and Leadership
Persona and Online Presence
Mass Media and Social Media
Celebrities online
Beauty Ideals, Pageants and Culture
Models as Role Models
Sporting Identities
Life After Sports
Literature and Photography
Film and Television
Laws and Policies
Ethics and Morality
Social Innovation and Change
Education and Advocacy

Conference Chairs: Dr Jackie Raphael and Dr Celia Lam
Conference Committee Members: Dr Renee Middlemost and A/Prof Ian Dixon

Keynote speaker Professor P. David Marshall holds a Professorship and Personal Chair in New Media, Communication and Cultural Studies at Deakin University in Melbourne Australia. He is the world-leading scholar in the study of celebrity and public personality systems.  Along with many articles and book chapters, Professor Marshall’s books include Persona Studies: An Introduction (2019), Advertising and Promotional Cultures: Case Histories (Palgrave, 2018), Celebrity and Power (Minnesota, 2nd edition 2014), Celebrity Persona Pandemic(Minnesota, 2016), New Media Cultures (Oxford Arnold, 2004), Web Theory (2003) and Fame Games (Cambridge, 2000). His edited or co-edited books include A Companion to Celebrity (Blackwell-Wiley, 2016), Contemporary Publics (Palgrave, 2016), and The Celebrity Culture Reader (Routledge, 2006). His current research has focussed on the concept of persona and the now associated sub-field of Persona Studies which investigates the strategic construction of the public display of the self, both in its online forms and in other transforming contexts.  His forthcoming research and publications include: the General Editor of the 6-volume Cultural History of Fame (for Bloomsbury Academic), the co-authored), and the future book Emoji Culture and Gestural Communication (McGill Queens University Press, 2020).  His expertise has led to interviews published in many newspapers including the New York TimesGlobe and Mail and the Sydney Morning Herald as well as appearances on other legacy media including the BBC, CNN, Fox News, the ABC and many other media outlets around the world. Professor Marshall has also appeared in the recent documentary film about celebrity called Big in Japan (2017). Along with occasionally publishing more journalistic articles and other media, he maintains a very intermittent personal blog at www.pdavidmarshall.com

U2 Conference 2018 Feedback Survey

We’re still collecting feedback from our 2018 delegates. If you’d like to share your thoughts and help us plan for an even better one next time, we have a very short survey here.

Also, if you have photos and/or videos of anything from the conference you’re willing to share, we’d love to add them to our Flickr albumPlease contact Conference Director Scott Calhoun if you’d like to submit your photos and/or videos.

“Let’s Talk, Please” @ U2CON 2018 BELFAST

Would you like to spend a few days with real people, in real time, in a real place having really spirited discussions, debates and discoveries about U2? Are you tired of being lured into arguments online, shut out of conversations and blasted with quick quips? Does all the posturing make you wonder if it’s possible anymore to disagree and remain friends? Or even find friends?

Would you like to share, learn, challenge someone and be challenged yourself about U2’s music, work and influence, all to come away feeling not only your fandom was nourished but your heart and mind flourished?

Me too. I want to go there with you and you and you …

Let’s meet in Belfast, 13-15 June 2018. Belfast’s learned how to meet up and talk it through, like they did in 1998 to achieve the Good Friday Agreement. Belfast’s a city for conversation. Pop might be U2’s most divisive album among fans, so we should have plenty to talk about. And then there’s all the rest about U2, ourselves and our worlds we could talk about too.

“A chance to connect with long-time and just-met friends from around the world, a space in which conversation with complete strangers was always easy due to our common vocabulary, a great exercise for intellectual curiosity and the celebration of amazing music.” — Angela Pancella, U2CON 2013

At the U2 Conference 2018, you’ll find fans of U2. You’ll also be with fans of music, art, activism, social engagement and change. You’ll be with people who want to grow and know how to stay smack in the middle of a contradiction and turn it into something positive. U2 fans have no problem holding their own with scholars, teachers, journalists, critics and clerics. We try to bring everyone together because we know it’s about everyone, together, talking and listening and building the future we want.

“The uniqueness of the conference was in this blend of fan, academic, and activist audiences. None overshadowed the others but each brought their particular interests and specific energies to the conference. I had a blast just meeting other U2 fans from all over the world and from all walks of life.” — Daniel Kline, U2Con 2009

Join us.

Read more about our POPVision conference theme.

Read more about what past attendees have said.

Submit a proposal for what you’d like to talk about by December 31, 2017.

Or, just registershow up and lend your voice to the conversations. Everyone is welcome.

Please stop fighting, please
Let’s talk, please – “Please (live from Rotterdam), Bono

“U2 and The Beatles” Session at the PCA/ACA National Conference 2016

If you’ll be at the PCA/ACA national conference in Seattle March 22-25, 2016, you might want to catch “’Taking on the Shape of Someone Else’s Pain’: U2 and Irish Postmemory” by Jason Cash of Southwestern Oklahoma State University, on Tuesday, March 22, 1:15 p.m.2:45 p.m. 

From the description page:

Two songs on U2’s 2014 album Songs of Innocence, “Raised by Wolves” and “The Troubles,” return directly and indirectly to the band’s signficant engagement with Irish politics and violence. These songs explore the complex experience of historical trauma both as an observer and as a people steeped in a storytelling culture that celebrates and condemns militaristic nationalism, often at the same time. Using Marianne Hirsch’s concept of postmemory, a term she has used to describe the transmission of memories from survivors of the Holocaust to their children, this paper will argue that U2’s challenge and rejection of this process in popular media ensures that postmemory will continue. This paradox sheds light on the difficulty and the importance of reassessing inherited narratives continuously, a project with particular resonance for a band as self-aware as U2 and for a nation whose identity is as defined by storytelling as Ireland.

Cash’s presentation is the only one on U2, while there are three more on The Beatles. The full panel presentations are listed here.

Conference: Bridging Gaps: What are the media, publicists, and celebrities selling?

This conference of The Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies in Barcelona, Spain, July 3 – 5, 2016, might be of interest to scholars working in the field of U2 studies.

The deadline for presentation proposals has passed and there’s no program posted yet to see if Bono or U2 will be a topic of conversation, but if they are, it could likely be at a roundtable discussion at the conference on “Celebrity Activism” with Dr. Nathan Farrell and Dr. Jackie Raphael on July 4, 2016

See the conference website for more information and to watch for a program to be posted.

Engaging with Bono’s “Little book” at Fandom and Religion Conference, Leicester, UK, July 28-30, 2015

Bono described what he was thinking when he pressed “go” to publish his Little book of a big year, but what was he actually doing? More extensively and intimately engaging with fans than he had done for a long time, the little book makes interesting reading across many issues. I will be exploring issues of meaning making in a paper presentation at the Fandom and Religion Conference, University of Leicester, UK. In particular, I will briefly approach Bono’s presentation of himself, his beliefs and understanding of fandom, whilst linking his Little book to other discourses. In my analysis, I will apply the concepts of Sensemaking and Sensegiving. For those interested, I have included the longer abstract below.

I’m delighted to be presenting in the same session as Dr. Scott Calhoun, whose presentation is titled “Ecce Bono: Celebrity Status After 33.” – really looking forward to hearing that!

Abstract

“F is for Fans… J is for Jesus: Making sense of Bono’s big year”

Dr. Chris Wales

“It’s January 1, 8 p.m. I nearly didn’t press go on this, and I am clearly delirious in places. It’s very personal, but I feel in not a corny way that U2 has a very intimate relationship with our audience … so I’m going for it.”

“Little book of a big year: Bono’s A to Z of 2014”, U2.com, 2015

No strangers to fandom and anti-fandom, in 2014 Bono placed U2 once again in what he likes to describe as “right in the centre of a contradiction” with the “controversial” U2/Apple album release that intended to reach instantly a wider audience. A few months later, as 2015 began, he published a “little book” on U2´s official website, seemingly one of his most intimately direct, although asymmetric, communications with fans. I will review and analyse this personal ‘treatise’ and the events leading up to and around it, showing the way it directly and indirectly addresses issues relating to unity, fandom, activism and religious tolerance, whilst explaining the relevance of music and message, aimed at deepening understanding of the U2 mind-set. Bono’s communication is analysed as an act of sensemaking (Weick, 1995) and sensegiving (Gioia & Chittipeddi, 1991), theoretical constructs thought pertinent to understanding the band´s internal and external meaning making. The paper explores how alongside the increasing growth and diversity of their fan-base, U2 has engaged with the varying interpretations and expectations placed upon them, especially concerning issues of belief. The search for ultimate validation is linked to musical authenticity (Pattie, 1999), rather than promotion of celebrity, aligned to the band’s self-claimed constant and driving desire to produce authentic and relevant music, built on deep, intimate audience engagement, while embracing controversial issues such as faith and conviction. Further analysis considers how this ‘intimate’ form of communication might be understood as “authentic” or “performed” (Marwick and Boyd 2011; Bennett 2012).

“Ecce Bono: Celebrity Status After 33” Presentation at Fandom and Religion Conference, July 28-30, 2015

I’ve been looking forward to attending the Fandom and Religion Conference at the University of Leicester for months, and in a few more weeks I’ll be finally be there from July 28-30, taking in a great program of speakers and seminars, all organized by Dr. Clive Marsh as a part of the Theology, Religion, and Popular Culture Network at U of Leicester. I’ll be learning from everyone on the program and surely I’ll strike up some new friendships; I’ll even be presenting a paper and chairing a session too.

As a major gathering of leading theorists, scholars, practitioners, and students, the conference will explore interactions between religion and popular culture. How does fandom work? What is happening to fans as they express their enthusiasms and allegiances? Has fandom replaced or become a form of religion? What can the study of religion learn from explorations of fandom?

I’ll be presenting Wednesday, July 29, in a session with two papers on U2. One will be from my colleague Dr. Chris Wales, of NLA Høgskolen, who presented at the 2013 U2 Conference and published “Collaborative Transactions: Making Sense (Again) for U2’s Achtung Baby” in U2 Above, Across, and Beyond (Lexington, 2014). Dr. Wales’ presentation is “F is for Fans … J is for Jesus: Making Sense of Bono’s Big Year.”

My presentation is titled “Ecce Bono: Celebrity Status After 33.”  Here’s the abstract for my presentation:

“Dressing like your sister / Living like a tart /
They don’t know what you’re doing / Babe it must be art / ….
They want you to play Jesus / They’ll go down on one knee /
But they’ll want their money back if you’re alive at 33 /
And you’re turning tricks / With your crucifix / You’re a star”

“Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me,” U2 (1993/95)

When Bono was 33 in 1993, he had already disappointed many of the devout U2 fans the band had acquired in the 1980s. Having taken to heart the Irish poet Brendan Kennelly’s Judas-haunted aphorism, “If you want to serve the age, betray it,” Bono had “tarted up” the persona he had developed in the previous decade for U2’s revolutionary Zoo TV tour, and he was well on his way to disappointing more fans in the future with a vigorous commitment to avoiding the trap of typecasting. Now at the un-messianic age of 55, Bono has become expert at attracting, exciting, and repelling the masses, forcing the fan-celebrity dynamic into an ever evolving process of redefinition as both he and U2’s fandom ages. Behold Bono! I will examine Bono’s public acts as a singer, performer, and advocate as they have become intertwined with his status as a rock star for what they reveal as running through the heart of U2 fandom when evaluated against some fans’ specific expectations of celebrity-leadership, particularly among those who identify as having strong religious commitments. Paradoxically, as Bono has successfully avoided typecasting, he has moved closer to archetypes, most obviously the rock star-humanitarian. But in light of Bono’s overarching role as an artist, and especially since he is self-identifying as an artist on U2’s current tour, I will argue for our attention to be focused on his arguably greater feat of successfully enacting a palate of multiple and contradictory types to become, himself, a work of art that resists easy, monological interpretation, eschewing fans’ singular devotion to himself. In doing so, he is not only closer to the archetypal artist fulfilling the archetypal function of art, but is, ironically, performing a primary role of the archetypal savior by reorienting the adoration of fans who would follow him and frustrating them into synthesizing an authentic, liberating fandom of their own, imbued with a more realized sense of self and a more realized sense of the other. Behold Bono indeed. He’s a star.

If you’re still awake and want a little more detail on my talk, as I conduct my examination and argument, I’ll cover these topics:

  • A brief survey of types Bono performed in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s
  • monologism vs. dialogism
  • Fandom formation and appropriation theories
  • Complicating factors in U2 fandom within the American Evangelical Christian community, starting with the 2003 critique called “Bono’s Thin Ecclesiology” up to U2’s recent support of civil marriage rights for same-sex couples in Ireland and the United States
  • The functions and conditions of art and archetypes

And finally, the session I’m chairing is music focused and looks great with these presentations:

  • Len Cazaly: “’You got a lotta nerve to say you are my friend’: Dylan v. The Fans”
  • Dr. Wendy Fonarow: “The Purists: How Indie Music Expresses Puritan Dogma”
  • Felix Papenhagen: “Jewish Religiosity in the Context of Popular Music in Israel”

I’d love to see you at the conference. You can register here.

The U2 Conference logo and site design by Beth Nabi.