U2 Studies Alert | Call for Book Reviews: Religion Around Bono & The Rosary And The Microphone

Update: I’m pleased to say both of these reviews have been claimed and I’m looking forward to sharing them in early 2020.

If you would like to review either of the two books below, we would like to post your review as part of the U2 Studies Network. We’re looking for a short essay of about 800-1000 words, written for a general reading audience and which gives a fair, well-supported and professionally-toned review. To get a review copy of either book, please follow the link posted with the book information, and inform the publisher you intend to post your review on this site, U2conference.com.

Please contact Scott Calhoun to let him know you are writing your review and to ask about deadline and submission details. Thank you!


Cover image for Religion Around Bono: Evangelical Enchantment and Neoliberal Capitalism By Chad E. Seales

Religion Around Bono
Evangelical Enchantment and Neoliberal Capitalism
Chad E. Seales
Penn State University Press, 2019

Book information here and Review copy request here

For many, U2’s Bono is an icon of both evangelical spirituality and secular moral activism. In this book, Chad E. Seales examines the religious and spiritual culture that has built up around the rock star over the course of his career and considers how Bono engages with that religion in his music and in his activism.

Looking at Bono and his work within a wider critique of white American evangelicalism, Seales traces Bono’s career, from his background in religious groups in the 1970s to his rise to stardom in the 1980s and his relationship with political and economic figures, such as Jeffrey Sachs, Bill Clinton, and Jesse Helms. In doing so, Seales shows us a different Bono, one who uses the spiritual meaning of church tradition to advocate for the promise that free markets and for-profits will bring justice and freedom to the world’s poor. Engaging with scholarship in popular culture, music, religious studies, race, and economic development, Seales makes the compelling case that neoliberal capitalism is a religion and that Bono is its best-known celebrity revivalist.

Engagingly written and bitingly critical, Religion Around Bono promises to transform our understanding of the rock star’s career and advocacy. Those interested in the intersection of rock music, religion, and activism will find Seales’s study provocative and enlightening.


The Rosary and the Microphone
Religious Impulse in U2’s Mediated Brand

Nicholas P. Greco
Equinox, 2019

Book information here and Review copy request here

The Rosary and the Microphone explores U2 as a politically engaged band that manifests a particular brand of Christianity through the band’s mediation in a global context and for a global audience.

Through the primarily semiotic study of U2’s various mediations, this book maps the band’s strategies for negotiating its place in the world as a global band — and a mediated brand — and as a proponent of a kind of cosmopolitanism, or global care. U2’s brand is heavily informed by Bono’s own personal religious formation. This religious viewpoint is expressed in a global concern — a Christian cosmopolitanism — that looks outward and urges others to do the same.

The Rosary and the Microphone explores U2 in live performance, through music videos and in unique media offerings, such as the feature-length music video Linear.


U2 Studies Alert | U2: Der er fans og så er der superfans [ There are fans and then there are superfans] / Brent Gringer

U2 fan, academic and journalist Brent Gringer published “U2: Der er fans og så er der superfans,” on December 6, 2019, in the online popular journal POV.

Gringer’s amazing longread essay of over 11,000 words is partly an informal study and partly a personal comment written in Danish on U2 fan behavior, focusing primarily on the motivations and strategies a segment of the U2 fandom have for seeing U2 live. He offers comments on the academic study of U2 and its fans as well.

Please help spread Gringer’s essay to U2 fans and academics reading Danish!

For an unofficial translation of Gringer’s essay in English, here is a PDF. If you know of someone who can supply a better translation, please contact us, as we’d like to offer the best translation possible in English of Gringer’s work.

U2 Studies Alert | Two CFPs With Room to Study U2 @ 2020 Popular Culture Conferences in Canada and Europe


Call for Papers: Pop and Politics: State of the Field / State of the World

Annual Conference of the Popular Culture Association of Canada
Concordia University
Montreal, QC
May 7-9, 2020

After a one-year hiatus, the annual conference of the Popular Culture Association of Canada is back and looking forward—as well as up, left, right, down, and back. For our 9th annual conference, which will take place at Concordia University in Montreal, QC from May 7th-9th, 2020, we’re reflecting on the state of our field by inviting discussion on the relationship between popular culture and politics, broadly conceived.

Precisely because it’s popular, popular culture is often derided as politically conservative; for the same reason, it’s also critiqued as socially liberal. These disagreements are not, of course, surprising; popularity necessitates the inclusion and complex negotiation of myriad political beliefs, themes, and contexts. The rise of populist political movements around the world—and the reinvigoration of activism and progressive politics in response to these movements—has made the relationship between pop and politics especially obvious; now, more than ever, the state of popular culture is inseparable from the state of the world.

Our conference is global, interdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary; we welcome any and all perspectives on popular texts, industries, and reading practices. In addition, presentations can be historical or contemporary; we encourage reflections on the past that has shaped our present and the present that shapes our future.

Possible topics may include:

  • The depiction of political movements and controversies within popular texts (film, television, literature, fashion, comics, architecture, social media, sports, games, music, advertising, etc.)  
  • Intersections of popular culture and populism
  • The politics of fandom
  • Campaigns for diversity and the backlashes against them
  • The effects of political movements and policy on media industries
  • The politics of teaching and studying popular culture

Proposals for 15 to 20-minute papers should be submitted by January 15th, 2020. Pre-constituted panels and roundtables are welcome; these should be submitted as a single package. Proposals should be a maximum of 300 words and must include a 50-word biography of the presenter(s). Panels should include individual proposals for each paper; roundtables only require a single proposal, in addition to biographies of the presenters. Proposals, and any questions about the conference, should be sent to: conference@canpop.ca.

All presenters will need to become members of the association in order to be featured in the program. Conference registration fees will automatically include 2020 membership. Each presenter may only present a single paper, but can participate in a roundtable in addition to presenting a paper.

Membership information and the conference program will be available on our website.


Call for Papers: EUPOP 2020

Jagiellonian University
Kraków, Poland
July 22nd – 24th, 2020
Deadline: 29th February, 2019

Individual paper and panel contributions are welcomed for the ninth annual international conference of the European Popular Culture Association (EPCA), to be held at Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland, July 22nd – 24th, 2020.

EUPOP 2020 will explore European popular culture in all its various forms. This includes, but is by no means limited to, the following topics: Climate Change in Popular Culture, European Film (past and present), Television, Music, Costume and Performance, Celebrity, The Body, Fashion, New Media, Popular Literature and Graphic Novels, Queer Studies, Sport, Curation, and Digital Culture. We also welcome abstracts which reflect the various ways of how the idea of relationship between Europe and popular culture could be formed and how the current tur-moil in European identity (e.g. the legacy of totalitarianism and fascism), union, its borders and divisions are portrayed in popular cultural themes and contents.

Papers and complete panels for all strands will be subject to peer review. Proposals for individ-ual presentations must not exceed 20 minutes in length, and those for panels limited to 90 minutes. In the latter case, please provide a short description of the panel along with individual abstracts. Poster presentations and video projections are also warmly welcomed.

Proposals comprising a 300-word abstract, your full name, affiliation, and contact details (as a Word-file attachment, not a PDF) should be submitted to Kari Kallioniemi (kakallio@utu.fi) by 29.02.2020. Receipt of proposals will be acknowledged via e-mail, and the decision of acceptance will be notified within two weeks of submission.

The conference draft program will be announced in May 2020, along with the conference regis-tration and accommodation details. The likely conference fee will be 150 euros (student), and 200 euros (other). The fee includes coffees, lunches, evening reception & dinner, and EPCA Membership (includes subscription to the European Journal of Popular Culture, Intellect Press).

More information at EUPOP 2020


WITH “AHIMSA,” U2 FINDS ITS ANCIENT-MODERN HOME / Timothy D. Neufeld


With “Ahimsa,” U2 Finds Its Ancient-Modern Home
Timothy D. Neufeld
November 25, 2019

“Ahimsa,” the new single from U2, in collaboration with India’s A.R. Rahman, is a powerhouse of understatement. Deceptively simple, it goes much deeper than its catchy synthpop melodies and gentle, straightforward chordal progressions. This lullaby for India deserves a closer look.

In the chorus, Bono sings, “This is an invitation / To a high location / For someone who wants to belong.” (Listen to the whole song here.)

With that, the listener is summoned into a whirling kaleidoscope of philosophy, faith, and ancient sacred writings. There is a meditation in the midst of a culture clash, and it is rich, with influences going back to U2’s beginning, and beyond.

Through Martin Luther King Jr.

It was Jim Henke who gave a copy of Stephen B. Oates’ Let the Trumpet Sound: The Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. to Bono, which in turn became the impetus for “Pride (In the Name of Love).” Recalling that period, Bono told Michka Assayas in 2005, “We became students of nonviolence, of Martin Luther King’s thinking.” Reflecting on similarities between America’s civil rights movement and the Troubles in Ireland, in another 2005 interview, with Jann Wenner for Rolling Stone, Bono recounted, “We had discovered nonviolence and Martin Luther King, not just in relation to his use of the Scriptures and his church background, but also as a solution to the Irish problems.”

There is no mistaking the impact of King on U2’s music and mission. The Vertigo Tour in 2005 referenced King’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech as the band segued from “Pride” into “Where the Streets Have No Name.” With a choir of “oh-oh-oh-oh-oh” encircling him, Bono reminded the audience, “Not just an American dream. Or an Asian dream. Or a European dream. Also, an African dream.”

During the recent Experience + Innocence Tour, U2 again featured “Pride.” As Bono yelled through the megaphone, “This is not America,” jarring pictures of white supremacist rallies suddenly morphed into footage of King marching with his supporters, carrying signs reading “We Shall Overcome,” with Bono screaming, “THIS IS AMERICA!”

And on the 30-year anniversary of the Joshua Tree Tour (both the 2017 and 2019 versions), the band launched into a live performance of the iconic album with the text of King’s Dream speech superimposed over the final notes of “Pride.”

From Mahatma Gandhi

As much as King has influenced the heart and soul of U2, the civil rights activist himself was greatly inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, the Indian reformer who led a nonviolent revolution against the British Empire in the first half of the twentieth century.

In his essay “My Pilgrimage to Nonviolence,” King recalled:

Gandhi was probably the first person in history to lift the love ethic of Jesus above mere interaction between individuals to a powerful and effective social force on a large scale. Love, for Gandhi, was a potent instrument for social and collective transformation. It was in this Gandhian emphasis on love and nonviolence that I discovered the method for social reform that I had been seeking for so many months.

King continued:

My study of Gandhi convinced me that true pacifism is not nonresistance to evil, but nonviolent resistance to evil. Between the two positions, there is a world of difference. Gandhi resisted evil with as much vigor and power as the violent resister, but he resisted with love instead of hate.

In Gandhi’s defiance of British rule, he drew upon the concept of ahimsa. This ancient ideal is a foundational virtue in Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism. Its literal meaning is “non-injury.” (As himsa means “injury” or “harm,” a-himsa means the opposite). In English, the sense of the virtue comes across best as “non-harm” or “nonviolence.” But the concept goes deeper: ahimsa also refers to an active presence that honors all life and seeks to “cause no injury” to anyone or anything. More than just the absence of violence, ahimsa is a call to practice harmonious living with all things, quite like the Jewish notion of shalom.

In his autobiography The Story of My Experiments with Truth, Gandhi explained:

Ahimsa is a comprehensive principle. … A votary of ahimsa therefore remains true to his faith if the spring of all his actions is compassion, if he shuns to the best of his ability the destruction of the tiniest creature, tries to save it, and thus incessantly strives to be free from the deadly coil of himsa. He will be constantly growing in self-restraint and compassion ….

Gandhi believed that an act of violence would rebound back on the perpetrator of that violence. Even the act of harvesting or killing one’s food damages the whole of creation and the soul of the individual, though its impact is small. Hence, Gandhi’s great respect for all living things.

Ultimately, the ahimsa ethic translates into an idea that seems contradictory for many Westerners: Gandhi could both love and resist the British enemy. But he explained in his autobiography how he resolved this paradox:

This ahimsa is the basis of the search for truth. I am realizing every day that the search is vain unless it is founded on ahimsa as the basis. It is quite proper to resist and attack a system, but to resist and attack its author is tantamount to resisting and attacking oneself. For we are all tarred with the same brush, and are children of one and the same Creator, and as such the divine powers within us are infinite. To slight a single human being is to slight those divine powers, and thus to harm not only that being but with him the whole world.

To India’s Ancient Tirukkural

In U2’s only new song of 2019, the band offers a tune drawing on the best of what King and Gandhi advocated. But, again, we must go beyond its surface to fully hear it.

In a video on YouTube produced by Aneez Basheer, the Indian filmmaker’s daughter, Aasiya, explains the rich context and profound significance ahimsa has for the people of India. The song begins with the daughters of A.R. Rahman singing two distinct phrases from the Tirukkuṛaḷ, a highly revered sacred text in Tamil culture dating back two millennia. (The text’s shorter name is the Kural.)

Basheer gives an important clue for understanding the Kural, noting its couplets have four words in the first lines and three in the second. Translation into English presents the impossible task, then, of capturing both the meaning and structure of the original lines in Tamil.

செய்யாமல் செற்றார்க்கும் இன்னாத செய்தபின்
உய்யா விழுமந் தரும்

பிறர்க்கின்னா முற்பகல் செய்யின் தமக்குஇன்னா
பிற்பகல் தாமே வரும்

Discussing the children’s chorus that opens “Ahimsa,” Basheer cites a chapter titled “Not Doing Evil,” where we find the first lyric of U2’s song in Kural 313,

Seyyaamal setraarkkum innaadha seydhapin
Uyyaa vizhumanh tharum.

The Himalayan Academy, in Weaver’s Wisdom: Ancient Precepts for a Perfect Life, translates this couplet as:

Harming others, even enemies who harmed you unprovoked,
Surely brings incessant sorrow.

The second lyric the children sing in “Ahimsa” is:

Pirarkkinnaa murpakal seyyin thamakkuinnaa
Pirpakal thaamae varum

Which translates in English as:

If a man visits sorrow on another in the morning,
Sorrow will visit him unbidden in the afternoon.

In a personal interview with Basheer, the video producer told me how difficult it is to translate ancient Tamil into modern English, which explains the many variant translations of the text floating around the internet. “I saw so many articles and people talking about what kind of lyrics U2 was using; we put that video together to explain the chorus,” Basheer said.

“Tamils are very proud of their language and its ancient literature. This chorus is definitely a big treat for Tamils (who live in Tamilnadu, a state in India),” Basheer added.

I asked him what he thought of U2’s choice to sing about ahimsa, to which he replied: “Ahimsa is like a trademark for India. India got its freedom from the British through nonviolence, which is ahimsa.”

And Back to U2

Much more could be said about the song “Ahimsa.” The rabbit hole is deep.

As a matter of intertextuality, many of U2’s other songs contain themes similar to “Ahimsa.” Notions of the sky being opened in some form or another appear in “Window in the Sky,” “Bullet the Blue Sky,” “In God’s Country,” and “Electrical Storm.”

Bono has often sung of the beginning of the world or of being born, as in “Magnificent,” “The Crystal Ballroom,” “Yahweh,” “All Because of You,” and “Lights of Home.”

The idea of “no weeping” goes back to “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “A Sort of Homecoming,” and “Running to Stand Still,” as well as the newer “American Soul.”

And certainly, “Ahimsa” has a general vibe similar to a popular track from Songs of Experience, “Love is Bigger than Anything in its Way.”

There are also biblical references which resonate strongly with ahimsa, as found in Gandhi, King, and the Kural. Jesus’ Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 contain some rich likenesses: “Blessed are the poor,” “Blessed are the meek,” “Blessed are the merciful,” “Blessed are the peacemakers,” “Do not resist an evil person,” and, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

The general optimism of “Ahimsa,” as it looks forward to a time without evil, feels very near to the closing chapters of the Bible.  Revelation 21 and 22 describe a heavenly dwelling “where there is no weeping” and “where there is no sleeping.” It is an idyllic place of harmony among all people groups.

As U2 prepares to play its first concert ever in India on December 15, 2019, “Ahimsa” showcases the band’s longstanding cultural awareness once again. In a sense, U2 is coming home to a place they have never been.

In a recent press release, Bono said,

We come as students to the source of inspiration. That is ahimsa… non-violence. India gave this to us… the greatest gift to the world. It is more powerful than nuclear energy, the armies, the navies, the British Empire. It is power itself. And it’s never been more important.

Equally anticipating their journey, Edge agreed:

India has been on our bucket list for a very long time; the principles of ahimsa or non-violence have served as an important pillar of what our band stands for since we first came together to play music. We can’t wait to experience the culture of India firsthand, a place that brings together the modern and the ancient all at once.

Ahimsa is the stuff of Adam, Larry, Bono, and Edge’s DNA. From the Tirukkuṛaḷ to the Bible to Gandhi to King, the theme of active peacemaking resounds in U2’s music and mission. The message of the new song is a sacred one, extending far beyond the transmission of radio waves and music videos. It is an ethic of love by which any one of us can choose to live.


If you want to know more about U2’s song “Ahimsa,” consult these great resources:

Also, check out A.R. Rahmen’s music, which is thematically relevant and visually stunning.



© Timothy D. Neufeld, 2019

Dr. Timothy D. Neufeld teaches at Fresno Pacific University in the biblical and religious studies department in Fresno, CA. He is the author of U2: Rock ‘n’ Roll to Change the World as well as numerous academic and popular essays on the intersection of U2 and pop culture. He hosts an innovative online chat community called The Crystal Ballroom and invites you to follow him on Twitter and Periscope at @timneufeld. Tim is currently completing a second masters degree, this time in marriage and family therapy.

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.

U2 Studies Alert |New Conference CFPs on Celebrity Culture & Listening to Popular Music / Five Papers Newly Added to the U2 Studies Bibliography

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.

Regarding conference Call for Papers: Consider submitting proposals to these conferences on a topic that interests you about U2’s music, work, influence or fandom culture which would also fit within the framework of these conference topics.


CONFERENCE CFP

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Transformations in Celebrity Culture: The Fifth International Celebrity Studies Conference

June 18 – 20, 2020
University of Winchester, UK
Sponsored by the Culture-Media-Text Research Centre, Faculty of Arts, University of Winchester.

Deadline for proposals is October 1, 2019. Full CFP here.

Keynote speakers (confirmed):
●       Dr. Nandana Bose, FLAME University, India
●       Dr. Anthea Taylor, University of Sydney, Australia
●       Prof. Brenda R. Weber, Indiana University Bloomington, USA
●       Dr. Milly Williamson, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

More details about the conference here.


CONFERENCE CFP

Home - Universität Innsbruck

Listening to (Mainstream) Popular Music in 2020: Sounds and Practices
May 21-22, 2020 
Department of Music, University of Innsbruck, Austria

Deadline for proposals: October 25, 2019. More conference details and a full CFP here.


NEW ADDITIONS TO THE U2 STUDIES BIBLIOGRAPHY
These four new papers are now listed along with 100+ more items on the U2 Studies Bibliography.

1. Côté, Thierry. “Popular Musicians and Their Songs as Threats to National Security: A World Perspective.” The Journal of Popular Culture 44.4 (2011): 732-754. Free to download with a free Academia.edu account.

2. Galbraith, Deane. “Meeting God in the Sound: The Seductive Dimension of U2’s Future Hymns.” Chapter in: The Counter-Narratives of Radical Theology and Rock’n’Roll: Songs of Fear and Trembling. Ed. Mike Grimshaw. Radical Theologies. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. 119-135. Free to download with a free Academia.com account.

3. Kearney, David. “‘I Can’t Believe the News Today’: Music and the Politics of Change.” Chimera 24 (2009): 122–140. Available online here.

4. Van den Berg, Jan Albert. “The Gospel According to Bono and U2? Worship in the New Millennium.” Chapter in: A Faithful Witness. Essays in Honour of Malan Nel. Edited by H. Pieterse and C. Thesnaar. Wellington: Bible Media, 2009. 197-208. Free to download with a free Academia.edu account.

5. Welch, Marshall J. “We Get To Carry Each Other: Using the Musical Activism of U2 As A Framework for an Engaged Spirituality & Community Engagement Course.” Engaging Pedagogies in Catholic Higher Education 1.1 (2015): 1-10. Free to download with a free Academia.edu account.

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 |”U2 and Jewish Thought” available / Paperback edition of U2 and the Religious Impulse / CFP: Researching Live Music: Gigs, Tours, Concerts and Festivals

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.

U2 studies scholar Naomi Dinnen recently made her paper “You don’t see me but you will: Jewish thought and U2” free to download as a PDF. Dinnen is a PhD candidate researching U2 and religion at The Australian National University School of Music. We’re all looking forward to reading her dissertation on U2 when she completes her studies.


Naomi Dinnen’s paper “You don’t see me but you will: Jewish thought and U2” was first published in U2 and the Religious Impulse: Take Me Higher, edited by Scott Calhoun (Bloomsbury, 2018). A paperback edition of this collection of thirteen original essays on U2 scholarship will be available in late August 2019, and is available for pre-order now.


Call for Chapter Proposals
Researching Live Music: Gigs, Tours, Concerts and Festivals
(under contract with Taylor & Francis/Routledge)

Hurry! Deadline is in two-days, but perhaps you can ask the editors for a short extension. My apologies for the late notice. – SC

Edited by:
Chris Anderton (Solent University, Southampton, UK)
Sergio Pisfil (University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK)

We would like to encourage scholars from all disciplines to present chapter proposals for research that relates to one of three broad areas of the live music ecology. First, research that reconsiders the role of technology in the production of music events. Second, research that examines the complex set of industries and issues that surround the promotion and business of live music. Finally, research that explores the social issues and factors involved in the consumption of live music performances. Our objective is to bring together solid methodological and theoretical positions to provide a critical resource that casts new light on the practices of live music – past or present, and from any part of the world. 

Potential contributors are asked to propose chapters related to the following themes and suggested topics:

Producing live music. Topics may include but are not confined to:
Audio production, Lighting, Staging, Touring, Venues (problems facing venues; importance of local venues for artist and audience development), Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality (from the production side), Accessibility (disability), Health & well-being, Environmental sustainability.

Promoting live music. Topics may include but are not confined to:
Concert and event management, Booking agents, Concert & event marketing & PR, Branding and sponsorship, Ticketing / secondary ticketing, Corporatisation and mediatisation, Policy initiatives (e.g. music cities, gentrification), Heritage and nostalgia, Data management.

Consuming live music. Topics may include but are not confined to:
Social media integration, Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality (from the consumer side), Virtual live music communities, Bootlegging and tape-trading, Venues/festivals as music communities (could also be related to the problems of venues closing), Carnivalesque expectations (drugs, alcohol, sexual assault issues), Changing audiences (aging, gender etc), Ways of listening.

Submission Procedure:
Researchers are invited to send an abstract of no more than 300 words, together with a short biography to studyinglivemusic@gmail.com by July 26th 2019. Any questions concerning possible contributions can be addressed to the same e-mail.

Authors will be notified of the outcome of their proposals by late summer 2019.

Successful authors should subsequently submit completed chapters of between 5,000 and 6,000 words (inclusive of bibliography and endnotes) by July 24th, 2020.

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

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