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U2 Aca-Fans, Geeks and Nerds at The World of Bob Dylan and Future U2 Conferences

Are you an aca-fan? Academics who are also fans of the subject they study are aca-fans (sometimes written as acafan). The term has been around for a while as have fan cultures and fandom studies.

There are plenty of online places to read more about aca-fans and what they do, from definition sites like this one, to a first-person “Confession of an Aca-Fan” from Henry Jenkins, who is said to have coined the term, to this recent essay on David Bowie fandom, which was published in The Fandom of David Bowie.

Toija Cinque, a co-author of The Fandom of David Bowie, wrote in another article titled Celebrity conferences as confessional spaces: the aca-fan memory traces of David Bowie’s stardom that:

The exchange of ideas between fans about stars and celebrities frequently takes place in informal circumstances, sometime face-to-face or in online forums and increasingly via social media such as Facebook. An increasingly important aspect of stardom and celebrity in contemporary societies finds now that there are important ‘new’ and professional spaces for commentary, discussion and thinking about star performers and the various affects of fandom itself. Such is the aca-fan conference.

If you’ve been to one of our U2 Conferences, or having been following along in the field of U2 Studies, you know exactly what an aca-fan is. You are, most likely, a U2 aca-fan yourself.


Kevin Dettmar, professor of English at Pomona College, attended the 2009 U2 Conference and presented his paper “Nothing Succeeds Like Failure: U2 and the Politics of Irony,” which he later contributed to Exploring U2: Is This Rock ‘n’ Roll? (Rowman and Littlefield, 2011).

In July, Dettmar wrote for The Chronicle of Higher Education about attending The World of Bob Dylan Symposium, a four-day conference on Bob Dylan at The University of Tulsa’s Institute for Bob Dylan Studies. Organizers expected about 200 attendees; they closed registration at 500.

“All Along the Ivory Tower: Amateur geeks and scholarly nerds come together to discuss Bob Dylan and his music,” shares Dettmar’s observations, personal experience and questions about the co-mingling of scholars and fans around a common subject. He shared the whole article with me and you can read it here.

I pulled some of Dettmar’s musings which I found to be most relevant to what I’ve noticed at U2 Conferences. Do his reactions strike a chord with you too? What’s been your aca-fan experience? What have the U2 Conferences done for you, and what would you like to see at the next U2 Conferences? Please leave your comments below.

Dettmar writes:

I had participated in a Dylan conference once before, one fully “scholarly” in design and tenor; the program and the talks were brilliant. But the Tulsa gathering was something different — something special. That’s reflected by the fact that it can with justice be described as a “gathering.” In part, it was a meeting of different “tribes”; in stark opposition to the traditional academic conference, the organizers had invited journalists, artists, and fans, as well as popular-music scholars. For many, the conference served as a kind of IRL meetup for folks who had known one another only from Dylan fan sites, message boards, and Facebook groups.

Most uncharitably, to both parties, the division might be described as “geeks” versus “nerds”; more conventionally, I suppose, the participants could tentatively be grouped into “fans” and “scholars.” The distinction is somewhat dubious, of course, but there’s something to it. One of the differences between fan and scholar involves the question of intentionality. Fans aspire to have the mind of Bob; scholars, in theory at least, seek rather to assess the achievement of the work, independent from what Dylan thought or said about it, to figure out not what Dylan meant, but what a given song, or album, or performance does. Scholars don’t care (or try not to care) about what Dylan thought he was doing, or was trying to do; we tend to hold to a more mysterious, even mystical, understanding of art, believing that the work always exceeds (and often contradicts) the explicit intentions of its maker. … Whereas fans, by and large, hold to a more mystical understanding of Dylan himself. For the fans, the credibility of an argument hinges on whether it jibes with their sense of what Bob was trying to do.

Another distinction that struck me that weekend is that fans’ way of seeing, analyzing, and questioning such topics is more detectivelike, more based in fact-finding, whereas scholars cherish the study of ideas. One practical consequence was that we scholars were quickly labeled the pundits, the ideas guys (and more often than not, guys took up the most space).

A final, but crucial, distinction between scholarly and fan interpretation concerns the question of context. Both scholars and fans seemed to eschew reading Dylan’s work in some orthodox New Critical fashion — they rejected the notion that Dylan’s songs alone were the sacred, self-contained source of interpretable meaning — but they had rather different reasons for doing so. The fans, too, spent a lot of time close reading Dylan’s texts, pressuring them to surrender their meanings, while also vigilantly attending to the contexts that framed their readings and proved their validity. For them, though, the principal context was what they conceived to be Dylan’s own intentions: Getting into the texts was a proxy for getting into Bob’s head.

A rich spirit of intellectual generosity reigned among the Dylan fans; I think all of the scholars were impressed with how unstinting they were with their considerable knowledge. We were also more than a little freaked out by them, truth be told, and even a little envious. It’s no secret that academics are routinely beset with professional anxieties, jealousies, and endless self-doubts. The fans, on the other hand, seemed completely untouched by things like “impostor syndrome.” But then again, they’re not impostors: What they know, they really know.

I chaired a session composed of one scholar and one fan — the latter, I’d guess, a late 20-something who said I should introduce him as an “independent basement scholar.” His talk on the world of Dylan fanzines was remarkable — as was the archive of that ephemera he has assembled, which he makes freely available via PDF to anyone who asks. The spirit of trading Dylan and Grateful Dead bootlegs is alive and well and living on the internet. … And the Dylan fans weren’t just generous with one another — they were generous with “us,” the scholars.

As should be clear by now — you will have figured it out far more quickly than I did — we scholars could learn a lot from the fans. This is not to suggest that conferences should be transformed into concerts (though I do think Dr. Freud would have something to say about the way I kept slipping up and calling it a Dylan concert rather than conference). But if we scholars think that fans’ analyses are lacking in rigor, our work would surely benefit from a bit of their enthusiasm, even joy.

Furthering the field of U2 Studies with Myth, Fan Culture, and the Popular Appeal of Liminality in the Music of U2

Looking for some back to school U2 studies reading? Here’s a newish book by Brian Johnston and Susan Mackey-kallis. More info at the book’s site and here’s a back-to-school sale flyer for a 30% discount on orders through Nov. 11, 2019.

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Brian Johnston is visiting assistant professor in the Department of Media, Journalism and Film at Miami University.

Susan Mackey-Kallis is associate professor in the Department of Communication at Villanova University.

U2 Studies Alert |Two CFPs: MeCCSA Brighton, UK 2020 & IASPM-US Ann Arbor, MI, USA 2020

U2 Studies Alerts share opportunities for research, writing, learning, and participation in projects and events related to U2 and topics associated with U2 that might be of interest to fans, students and scholars. Alerts are collected from a variety of sources and archived and distributed by U2conference.com. Search this site for “U2 Studies Alert” to find more.

All needed details for each alert should be in the body text, but
contact U2conference.com if you need more information or have an item to share for a future alert.

I have two Call for Papers to pass along today for U2 students and scholars. If you enjoy U2 and the fan culture around U2 and are looking for ways to combine your U2 fandom with your academic development, consider submitting proposals to these conferences on a topic that interests you about U2’s music, work and influence and would also fit within the framework of these conference topics.

MeCCSA Brighton 2020

1. MeCCSA 2020, University of Brighton, UK
Conference Theme – Media Interactions and Environments
8-10 January 2020
CFP submission deadline: 31 August 2019

More information about the Call for Papers and the Conference Theme.

Interactions with media are increasingly woven into the textures and cultural politics of our everyday lives. When the spaces of our homes, shops, schools, offices and cities are so intensively mediatised, media become our environment, brought to life through our mundane, personal, professional, creative, commercial and political interactions. What might be the wider implications of these media and cultural experiences and encounters? Whose voices and perspectives are included or excluded, and how are power and agency reconfigured, realigned and reproduced in this complex media landscape?

The theme Media Interactions and Environments is designed to address this critical moment in contemporary media culture, and appeal to a broad range of media, communication and cultural studies topics, interests and approaches.This conference theme is deliberately expansive, so as to include, amongst others, analysis of media texts, technologies, practices, audiences, institutions and experiences. Media interactions might be digital, cultural, political, emotional and imaginative. Environments could be spatial, political, representational, urban, local, physical, virtual and ecological. Our aim is to enable the MeCCSA community to question how we should live responsibly and ethically in a politically and ecologically changing world, through an exploration of the central role of media cultures and creative practices in addressing social, political and climate-based challenges.

2. IASPM-US 2020 Conference: “BPM: Bodies, Places, Movements”
May 21-23, 2020
Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

CFP submission deadline: 1 October 2019

More information about the Call for Papers and the Conference Theme.

The theme for this year’s conference is “BPM: Bodies, Places, Movements,” which intersects with Detroit and its storied place in rhythm and blues, rock, punk, pop, hip-hop, and electronic dance music, and is intended to connect the histories, philosophies, and practices of urban spaces to other historical and global popular music communities. Each year Detroit celebrates this local-meets-global history with the Movement Electronic Music Festival, which in 2020 will commence the same weekend as the IASPM-US conference.

BPM as a marker for “Beats Per Minute” was first included on records to allow DJs to sync disco and funk selections together on the fly and has since become an important digital tool to create, alter and interweave tracks. In addition to its practical musical applications, the creation of BPM encodes an array of social and cultural histories: urban migration; industrialization and its reverberations in deindustrialization and urban renewal; the cultural, racial, and class politics of white flight, capital departure, and gentrification; social movements from the Second Great Awakening, Civil Rights, and Fair Housing through neo-conservatism, white nationalism, and millennial populism; and the myriad communities that articulate their ideals, utopias, frustrations and joys through popular music and its attendant practices, in garages, studios, music halls, warehouses, and digital spaces. 

U2 Studies Alert | Let Me In The “Dublin” Sound & New Research from The British Library on U2’s Early Tours

U2 Studies Alerts share opportunities for research, writing, learning, and participation in projects and events related to U2 and topics associated with U2 that might be of interest to fans, students and scholars. Alerts are collected from a variety of sources and archived and distributed by U2conference.com. Search this site for “U2 Studies Alert” to find more.

All needed details for each alert should be in the body text, but
contact U2conference.com if you need more information or have an item to share for a future alert.

Two items to pass along today for those interested in U2 Studies:

1. Is there such a thing as a “Dublin” sound in popular music? Popular music studies researchers John O’Flynn (Dublin City University) and Áine Mangaoang’s (University of Oslo) take a big step toward answering that question in their newly published article “Sounding Dublin: Mapping Popular Music Experience in the City,” in the 18 June 2019 issue (Vol. 6, No.1) of Journal of World Popular Music.

“Sounding Dublin” is but one outcome of the larger project “The Dublin Music Map / Mapping Popular Music in Dublin,” which is best summarized on Mangaoang’s site, where you can also get free downloads of the “Mapping Popular Music in Dublin Executive Report (2016)” and the research-informed “Dublin Music Map (2016).” The new Journal of Popular Music issue is for sale, though many academics might have institutional access to the journal.

The abstract for “Sounding Dublin” reads as follows:

This article interrogates ideas of popular music “sound(s)” linked to place by interpreting data gathered during the applied research project Mapping Popular Music in Dublin (MPMiD) 2015-16. An outline background, rationale and framework for MPMiD is presented, followed by a review of methods developed and overall themes that emerged. Focusing on the project’s “Sounding Dublin” strand, the article analyses the responses of 366 participants from a section of MPMiD’s e-survey relating to music, musicians, sounds and soundtracks that might be considered “typical” (or otherwise) of Dublin. Although a substantial minority of participants eschew notions of sonic uniqueness linked to place in the abstract sense, the data reveal a rich tapestry of experiences and standpoints linked to ideas of a Dublin sound or sounds. Some appear to concur with conventional hagiographies of rock and folk, with others challenging received narratives and proposing alternative viewpoints, scenes and pathways. “Dublin-specific” associations emerging across various genres are based on appraisals of performer engagement, accent and timbre, and narrative/lyrical style.


2. The U2 Tours team of Aaron Govern, Brian Betteridge, John Cropp, and Ross Perry at ATU2.com have updated their excellent database with new research informed by weeks spent in the British Library on U2’s earliest years of live performances and tours. An introduction and summary of their research is in “We Still Haven’t Found What We’re Looking For: The Search for the Missing Setlists.”

From their report:

“During our deep and almost archaeological research, we discovered some gems. We believe this effort is the largest and most significant review of U2 shows ever undertaken, and has led to the largest discovery of new and unknown U2 live shows (in Ireland), and complete or partial set lists, in decades.”

British Library

U2 Studies Alert | New book studying U2 and its fans on the JPMS list of New Books in Popular Music Studies (June 2019)

U2 Studies Alerts share opportunities for research, writing, learning, and participation in projects and events related to U2 and topics associated with U2 that might be of interest to fans, students and scholars. Alerts are collected from a variety of sources and archived and distributed by U2conference.com. Search this site for “U2 Studies Alert” to find more.

All needed details for each alert should be in the body text, but
contact U2conference.com if you need more information or have an item to share for a future alert.

The Journal of Popular Music Studies‘ guide to notable new music books is posted quarterly and the second installment is available here. The first installment (March 2019) is here.

The list is developed by the editors of the JPMS and announced prior to publication on the homepage for the International Association of Popular Music Studies-United States.

One new book studying U2 and its fans is on the June 2019 list:

Brian Johnston is visiting assistant professor in the Department of Media, Journalism and Film at Miami University.

Susan Mackey-Kallis is associate professor in the Department of Communication at Villanova University.

Several other books on the JPMS list might also be of interest to those working in the area of U2 Studies.

U2 Conference 2018 Media Info Page

Contact: Conference Director Dr. Scott Calhoun

Twitter & Facebook

The U2 Conference 2018 will meet from 13-15 June, 2018, in Belfast at Queen’s University in partnerships with The Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice, Queen’s, the National Museums of Northern Ireland, and Fitzroy Presbyterian Church.

Keynote speakers are Catherine Owens and Stuart Bailie, with presentations from special speakers  Shaughn McGrath, Steve Averill, Andy Rowen, Steve Stockman, Beth Nabi, John Brewer, Fiona MacGowan, and the band December.

Scholars, academics and critics coming from seven nations will deliver over 24 individual presentations, arranged into eight panels, happening over two and a half days.

Sessions are designed to appeal to academic and general audiences on the theme U2: POPVision. As the conference theme, U2: POPVision invites investigating, articulating and critiquing the guiding visions specific to U2’s Pop era of 1997-98 for their efficacy then and now, as well as welcoming an examination of popular music’s power to cast visions that shape its own narrative and construct and complicate larger cultural conversations, in which U2’s visions have long been engaged.

As Belfast marks in 2018 the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement – a major step as a peaceful agreement to seek non-violent resolutions to many conflicts in Northern Ireland, and an agreement which U2 publicly supported – the conference theme U2: POPVision further communicates the interest in studying how U2’s artistic visions help or hinder peace building, resolving personal and societal conflicts, and envisioning a more just, equitable and joyful world. An important theme of the conference is thus the wider relationship between music, art and peace building.

Keynote Speakers

Special Guests

U2 Conference 2018 Logos and Info Graphics

“The God I Believe In Isn’t Short Of Cash, Mister”: Bono’s Timeless Exposé

Edge and Bono performing on the Joshua Tree tour at the St. Paul Civic Center in 1987. Photo credit: Joey McLeister, StarTribune/Minnesota Historical Society

Last week, the New York Times Magazine reported its major exposé How Liberty University Built a Billion-Dollar Empire Online, which has several observations and explanations that overlap with Adam Laats’ new, insightful study Fundamentalist U: Keeping the Faith in American Higher Education (Oxford UP, 2018). As good as the NYT’s reporting was, Laats still picked up on What They Missed About Liberty Online.

Last month, I was invited to write about U2’s critique of fundamentalism and the religious appeal U2 has for many fans — specifically evangelical American Christians — by the blog Righting America at the Creation Museum.  Bloomsbury had just published U2 and The Religious Impulse: Take Me Higher, a contributed collection of essays I had edited, and the idea was to elaborate on Randall J. Stephens’ statement in an interview he gave to the RACM blog that “[i]n some ways Bono is a kind of patron saint” for a new generation of evangelicals who have turned from “red-meat conservative issues” toward wanting to be more culturally and socially aware Christians. Stephens’ had recently published The Devil’s Music: How Christians Inspired, Condemned, and Embraced Rock ‘N’ Roll (Harvard UP, 2018) and his Part One and Part Two interviews are wonderful.

Rather than summarizing my RACM posts here, I’ll point you to read “U2 and the Limits of Fundamentalism” Part One and Part Two, in which I mentioned Bono’s commentary on the Rev. Jerry Falwell Sr. when performing U2’s “Bullet the Blue Sky” on the Joshua Tree tour in 1987. All this to say, when it comes to exposing flock-fleecing fundamentalists, even though Bono said it over 30-years ago I think he’s still said it best:

I can’t tell the difference between ABC NewsHillstreet Blues and a preacher on the Old-Time Gospel Hour stealing money from the sick and the old. Well, the God I believe in isn’t short of cash, mister.

— Scott Calhoun

                                                      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

U2 and the Religious Impulse: Take Me Higher – A New Collection of U2 Studies Available Now

U2 and the Religious Impulse: Take Me Higher, is an edited collection of thirteen new essays from an international group of scholars studying U2 and its fandom, with a foreword by W. David O. Taylor and an introduction by Scott Calhoun.

Edited by Scott Calhoun
Studies in Religion and Popular Culture, Bloomsbury Press, 2018

U2 and the Religious Impulse examines indications in U2’s music and performances that the band work at conscious and subconscious levels as artists who focus on matters of the spirit, religious traditions, and a life guided by both belief and doubt.

U2 is known for a career of stirring songs, landmark performances and for its interest in connecting with fans to reach a higher power to accomplish greater purposes. Its success as a rock band is unparalleled in the history of rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest acts. In addition to all the thrills one would expect from entertainers at this level, U2 surprises many listeners who examine its lyrics and concert themes by having a depth of interest in matters of human existence more typically found in literature, philosophy and theology.

The multi-disciplinary perspectives presented here account for the durability of U2’s art and offer informed explanations as to why many fans of popular music who seek a connection with a higher power find U2 to be a kindred spirit. This study will be of interest to scholars and students of religious studies and musicology, interested in religion and popular music, as well as religion and popular culture more broadly.

Available as a hardback and e-book from Bloomsbury and Amazon.

“U2 and the Religious Impulse provides a wide ranging, deep and thoughtful investigation of the relationships between popular music, religion and spirituality. Exploring areas such as music, lyrics, staging and cultures, the writers examine how fans navigate flows of meaning created by and beyond the band, offering considerable insight into the functions of the sacred within popular culture.” –  Rupert Till, Professor of Music, University of Huddersfield, UK

“This truly excellent collection of lively, provocative essays shows that digging into and reflecting on U2’s work is well worth the effort. Without constraining the band’s output and impact by interpreting their music in any simple, narrowly religious way, these multi-disciplinary investigations reveal U2’s importance for spirituality, theology, politics and ethics. The book provides compelling evidence of the profound significance of popular culture.” –  Clive Marsh, Head of the Vaughan Centre for Lifelong Learning, University of Leicester, UK

“The relationship of U2 and several western religions has been a topic of debate/discussion since the band’s debut album Boy, in 1980. Subsequent releases found the group consistently addressing spiritual and religious themes in an attempt to reconcile faith and ever increasing popular music stardom. Here Calhoun takes on the varied and diverse religious elements in the music of the long-lived, world-renown band. As the band, itself, culls religious influence from a host of sources, so U2 and the Religious Impulse expertly addresses these myriad sacred cues in a measured and thought-provoking volume.” –  David Moskowitz, Professor of Music History, University of South Dakota, USA

Table of Contents:

List of Figures

Contributors

Acknowledgments

Foreword by W. David O. Taylor

Introduction: U2’s Sacrament of Sound (Scott Calhoun, Cedarville University, USA)

Part One: “Meet Me In The Sound”
1. “Edge, Ring Those Bells”: The Guitar and Its Spiritual Soundscapes in Early U2 (Henrik Marstal, Danish Institute of Popular Music/Rhythmic Music Conservatory, Denmark)

2. “Looking to Fill That God-Shaped Hole”: The Evolution of U2’s Spiritually Evocative Musical Gestures (Christopher Endrinal, Florida Gulf Coast University Bower School of Music and the Arts, USA)

3. Divine Moves: Pneumatology as Passionate Participation in U2’s “Mysterious Ways” (Steve Taylor, Flinders University, Australia)

Part Two: “Lift Me Out of These Blues”
4. “Hold On To Love”: U2’s Bespoke Exorcism of the 1960s (Nicola Allen, The University of Wolverhampton, UK and Gerald Carlin, The University of Wolverhampton, UK)

5. Sarajevo and the PopMart Lemon: The Fractured Form and Function of U2’s Walk Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death (Richard S. Briggs, University of Durham, UK)

6. “You Carried the Cross of My Shame”: From Crippling Stigma to Infectious Joy in the Songs of U2 (Mark Meynell, Langham Partnership, UK)

Part Three: “Escape Yourself, And Gravity”
7. The Technological Reach for the Sublime on U2’s 360° Tour (Kimi Kärki, University of Turku, Finland)

8. The “Moment of Surrender”: Medieval Mysticism in the Music of U2 (Brenda Gardenour Walter, Saint Louis College of Pharmacy, USA)

9. “In God’s Country”: Spatial Sacredness in U2 (Michael R. MacLeod, St. Mary’s University, Canada and Timothy Harvie, St. Mary’s University, Canada)

Part Four: “You Give Me Something I Can Feel”
10. “You Don’t See Me But You Will”: Jewish Thought and U2 (Naomi Dinnen, Independent Scholar, Australia)

11. “Like Faith Needs a Doubt”: U2 and the Theist / Non-Theist Dialogue (Angela Pancella, Independent Scholar, USA)

12. Finding What They’re Looking For: Evangelical Teen Fans and Their Desire for U2 to be a Christian Band (Neil R. Coulter, Center for Excellence in World Arts, USA)

13. U2 and the Art of Being Human (Mark Peters, Trinity Christian College, USA)

References

Index

“‘Tangle of Matter and Ghost’” Studies U2, Leonard Cohen, and Blakean Romanticism

A new academic essay on U2 titled “‘Tangle of Matter and Ghost’: U2, Leonard Cohen, and Blakean Romanticism,” by Lisa Plummer Crafton, Professor of English, University of West Georgia, appears this month in the new anthology Rock and Romanticism: Blake, Wordsworth, and Rock from Dylan to U2 (Lexington Books, 2018), edited by James Rovira, chair and associate professor in the English department at Mississippi College.

Rovira’s website for the book is a sort of launching point for “scholarship with a soundtrack,” with links to chapter summaries and an iTunes playlist for each of the eleven studies in the anthology.

He summarizes Crafton’s essay this way:

“‘Tangle of Matter and Ghost’: U2, Leonard Cohen, and Blakean Romanticism,” triangulates Blake’s, Cohen’s, and U2’s songwriting to illustrate how each artist represents, responds to, and addresses different life stages as they engage themes such as ‘social and cultural protest, the conflation of erotic/spiritual love, and the representation of the rupture of that symbiosis, especially in the poetic treatment of Judas, Yahweh, and Jesus.’ Life stage writing, therefore, is demonstrated in Crafton’s chapter to be a vehicle for sociopolitical critique. Critique is simultaneously and alternatively inwardly and outwardly directed: politics are the outward manifestation of inwardly present ‘mind-forg’d manacles’ and the external force forging those manacles from the start. Blake’s answer to this quandary, a Romantic response repeated by Leornard Cohen and then by U2 through both Blake and Cohen, is to address the mind first through imaginative vision.

The songs Rovira and Crafton suggest listening to are:

  • Leonard Cohen, “I’m Your Man,” “Nevermind,” “Sisters of Mercy,” “Story of Isaac,” “Suzanne,” “Who by Fire”
  • Van Morrison, “Let the Slave“
  • U2, “Beautiful Ghost,” “Bullet the Blue Sky,” “Grace,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” “MOFO,” “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “Until the End of the World,” “Wake Up, Dead Man,” “With or Without You”

Crafton’s essay is the only chapter in the anthology about U2, but fans and scholars of popular music and Romanticism will surely find the entire book stimulating reading.

Rock and Romanticism: Blake, Wordsworth, and Rock from Dylan to U2, appears in Lexington Books’ On The Record series, edited by Scott D. Calhoun, Cedarville University, and Christopher Endrinal, Florida Gulf Coast University. It is available starting February 15, 2018, from the publisher and Amazon.

New Entries in the U2 Studies Bibliography

We’ve recently updated the U2 Studies Bibliography with these six new entries:

Fast, Susan. “Music, contexts, and meaning in U2.” In Expression in Pop-Rock Music. Ed. Walter Everett. New York: Routledge, 2008, 33-57.

Galbraith, Deane. “Meeting God in the Sound: The Seductive Dimension of U2’s Future Hymns.” In The Counter-Narratives of Radical Theology and Rock ’n’ Roll: Songs of Fear and Trembling. Ed. Mike Grimshaw. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. 119-135.

Huliaras, Asteris and Nikolaos Tzifakis. “Personal Connections, Unexpected Journeys: U2 and Angelina Jolie in Bosnia.” Celebrity Studies. 6.4 (2015): 443-456.

Neufeld, Timothy D. U2: Rock ‘n’ Roll to Change the World. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2017.

Williams, Michael. “One but not the same: U2 Concerts, Community and Cultural Identity.” In Identity Discourses and Communities in International Events, Festivals and Celebrations. Ed. Udo Merkel. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. 242-259.

Williams, Michael. “Politics as spectacle: U2’s 360° tour (2009-11).” In Power, Politics and International Events: Socio-cultural Analyses of Festivals and Spectacles. Ed. Udo Merkel. London: Routledge, 2014. 174-190.

Please visit the full U2 Studies Bibliography for more resources.

The U2 Conference logo and site design by Beth Nabi.