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U2 Studies Alert | Research Query: Reading U2 Diffractively.

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 Search this site for “U2 Studies Alert” to find more.

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Nathan Frank, doctoral student in English at the University of Virginia, is researching for his forthcoming chapter “Ontoflecting through U2,” contributed to Diffractive Reading, Ed. Kai Merten, Rowman & Littlefield (expected 2020).

He’s asking the U2 Studies community if you’ve ever read a study of U2 that employs “diffraction.” Contact Nathan directly through the link above to his UVA page if you have some information to share with him.

His proposed chapter was accepted in response to this CFP and he shares his proposal abstract here:

A B S T R A C T : “Ontoflecting through U2”
Nathan Frank

Innocence and experience: just as William Blake saw to it that his “songs” about each would have to be read through the other, so U2 rolls out a double album in which each installment converses with its other half; that is, it speaks to itself, and by doing so, it sets itself up such that its grounds and its figures are both coequal and reversible. Moreover, such textual democracy pulls listeners into the interpretive process: if innocence makes sense of experience, and vice versa, then together they also supply meaning for the listener who, from within the soundscape, hears herself, just as U2 hear themselves from within their own sonic creations, and just as I (in turn) read my own material situation from this theory that Songs of Innocence (2014) and Songs of Experience (2017) occasion. I propose to describe the dynamic at work here as one of “ontoflection,” a new sort of diffractive-flecting that is less re- or in-, and more directly experiential for all involved; less meta- and more -physical; in a word, more innocent precisely by dint of an experience that spans the rhetorical spectrum and which, therefore, has everything to do with the interactivity that subtends this spectrum.

Mapping Popular Music in Dublin Survey Of Interest to U2 Fans

St Pats LogoI took a short online survey for this interesting research project called “Mapping Popular Music in Dublin” and I wanted to make other U2 fans aware of it and encourage them to take the survey too. I think the survey closes on September 30, 2015.

The project “aims to map popular music experience in Dublin by looking at popular music from the viewpoint of fans (citizens and tourists), musicians, and music industry personnel. The purpose is to inform tourism, culture and music industry organisations by providing the first comprehensive overview of popular music experience in Dublin to date.” The project is led by Dr. John O’Flynn (Principal Investigator) and Dr. Áine Mangaoang, and coordinated by St. Patrick’s College, Dublin City University, and funded by Fáilte Ireland.

Learn more about the project and take the survey here.

MPMiD Image

If you live in Dublin or have been in Dublin as a popular music tourist, or if you have some distinct impressions about the Dublin popular music scene you’d like to share, the project would benefit from hearing from you.

You can follow the project and the results, and get updates about related events, at its  Facebook page.

The U2 Tattoo Project

The U2 Tattoo Project is documenting and curating U2 tattoos and the stories behind them.

When you think of bands like The Beatles, The Who or The Rolling Stones, a dominant icon emerges in your mind: the elongated type and fretboard-like “T” of the Beatles, the arrow-protruding “o” of The Who, the lips and tongue of the Stones. But what comes to mind when you think of U2? The hand-brushed grunge script from Achtung? The bold, red Block Gothic face of War? The Joshua Tree silhouette? U2 has become an iconic band with no consistent icon, but rather a history of transient visual identities that embody their eras and represent different emotional experiences for fans.

In the absence of an official logo or singular, long-running, uniform mark, how do U2 fans brand their love for the band? The U2 Tattoo Project aims to study U2 fan tattoos in terms of popular U2 iconography and lyrics, examine the connections between favorite albums and tattoos, and explore what happens to U2’s visual identity as it passes into the hands and onto the bodies of fans.

Have a tattoo? Submit via our survey. Follow the project on social media: “U2 Tattoo Project” on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram. 


Music Events as Spectacle: U2’s Union of Rock and Resistance

My name is Michael Williams, and I am a long-time U2 fan (since 1982). Currently, I am also a doctoral candidate. My research project focuses on the concept and phenomenon of spectacle and the process of spectacularization in the specific context of U2’s ‘360°’ tour (2009-2011). In particular, it concerns the contribution of spectators to the creation of the spectacle and the meaning they attach to this. Spectacle is a frequently used term but it is not yet fully understood in the event context. The project focuses on the relationship between rock music events, politics and audiences. The research uses a multi-method case study, which includes analysis of online content and semi-structured interviews with fans and attendees of U2’s ‘360°’ concerts and analysis of concert documentary material.

I am keen to interview people with varying experiences of U2’s 360° shows in Dublin, Istanbul, Moscow and Pittsburgh.

If you are interested in participating, please contact me by emailing me at You can find out more about my research project by visiting my website at


Research query on U2 and Krautrock, and new MA dissertation on U2 and James Joyce

Hello. My name is Helena Torres and I wrote an MA dissertation in Irish Studies at the University of Liverpool on U2 and Joyce, titled “Nicely-polished looking glasses: A comparative study of U2 and Joyce’s Dublin in ‘Eveline’ and ‘Running to Stand Still.’” You can read my work here.

I would like to develop a new research project focused on Achtung Baby and the influence of krautrock for this album. However, I think sources regading U2 and krautrock are scarce. I have Rock and Popular Music in Ireland: Before and After U2 by Noel McLaughlin and Martin McLoone to provide me a starting point, but I’d like to know if there are more options. Thanks a lot.




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