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All U2 Conference 2020 Presentations, Panel Talks and Performances are virtual during the week of Oct. 18-24. The conference is hosted on Whova, and after registering for the conference, you’ll have access to Whova and all events and community features in Whova. Most conference sessions will be recorded and viewable after the session is over.

Below is a searchable agenda of sessions for the conference week. Following the agenda is a text list of all the sessions.


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I. Keynotes, with a Host. Scheduled for 60-75 Minutes, Including Q&A.

  1. Freedom, Risk & Rock ‘N’ Roll: Art’s Call to Action, Not Fantasy
    Edel Rodriguez, Artist & Activist

    Host: Beth Nabi, Associate Professor of Graphic Design and Digital Media at the University of North Florida

    Sunday, Oct. 18, 5 pm
  1. “A Sort Of Homecoming”: Finding A Sense Of Rock & Roll Belonging As A Black U2 Fan
    Kimberly Mack, Assistant Professor of African American Literature and Culture, The University of Toledo

    Host: Tania Johnson, Independent Scholar

    Thursday, Oct. 22, 6 pm
  1. Explain All These Controls: U2 & The Inner America
    David Dark, Author and Associate Professor of Religion and the Arts Belmont University

    Host: Nathan Frank, PhD Candidate, English Literature, University of Virginia

    Saturday, Oct 24, 6 pm
  1. The Hero’s Journey: U2’s Destiny in America
    Presentations and Conversation, Hosted by David Dark, Author and Associate Professor of Religion and the Arts Belmont University

    Embracing Opposites: The Integrated Self In U2’s America
    Timothy D. Neufeld, Associate Marriage and Family Therapist & Adjunct Professor, Fresno Pacific University

    The Spiritual Goal is American Soul: Bono and Blackface Minstrelsy
    Chad E. Seales, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, University of Texas at Austin

    Wednesday, Oct 21, 8 pm

II. Panel Sessions. Two Presenters with a Chair. Scheduled for 60 Minutes Including Q&A.

  1. When “MLK” Arrives “In God’s Country”: U2 Have an American Dream

    “Unforgettable Fire: U2, MLK, and America”
    Derek Catsam, Professor of History and Kathlyn Cosper Dunagan Professor in the Humanities, University of Texas-Permian Basin; Senior Research Associate, Department of History, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa

    “Souls On The Tree Of Pain: An Ellacuría Echo In ‘Bullet The Blue Sky’ And The Theological Framework of U2’s Two Americas Then and Now”
    Steven Harmon, Professor of Historical Theology, Gardner-Webb University School of Divinity

    Chair: Diane Pennington, Senior Lecturer in Information Science, Strathclyde iSchool; Course Director, MSc/PgDip Information & Library Studies, Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Strathclyde

    Thursday, Oct 22, 2 pm
  1. Rattling and Humming to the Influence of American Music

    “We Got John Coltrane: U2’s American Talismans”
    Kevin Farrell, Associate Professor of English, Radford University Carilion

    “I Am Someone, But Who?: U2’s Appropriation Of Black Music On Rattle and Hum”
    Mark Peters, Professor of Music, Department Chair, Trinity Christian College

    Chair: Christopher Endrinal, Associate Professor of Music, Honors College Faculty Fellow, Florida Gulf Coast University, Bower School of Music

    Monday, Oct. 19, 1 pm
  1. Ordinary Love in Extraordinary Times: America’s Urgent Need to Learn from the Past

    “Be The Bono In The Room”
    Michael Felker, Pastor and Leadership Coach

    “America Engulfed In A Retrograde, All Around: Diffracting U2’s ‘Ordinary Love’ Through The Prism Of Pearl Jam’s ‘Retrograde’ (And Vice Versa)”
    Nathan Frank, PhD Candidate, English Literature, University of Virginia

    Chair: Angela Pancella, U2 Fan and Independent Scholar

    Monday, Oct. 19, 4 pm
  1. Across Borderlands From Hope: Glimpsing Transcendence in the Streets and Beyond Trump’s Wall

    “When Love Came Downtown: U2’s Urban Encounters with the Divine”
    Mark Meynell, Europe & Caribbean Director, Langham Partnership; Independent Writer and Cultural Critic

    “The Miracle (Of American Soul): Searching For The American Dream Within Trump’s Wall”
    Diane Pennington, Senior Lecturer in Information Science, Strathclyde iSchool; Course Director, MSc/PgDip Information & Library Studies, Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Strathclyde

    Chair: Angela Pancella, U2 Fan and Independent Scholar

    Tuesday, Oct. 20, 10 am
  1. From “The Refugee” To “Refujesus!”: U2’s Idea of America Across the Albums

    “Held To Ransom, Hell To Pay: U2’s War As Portraying The Immigrant’s Pitfalls In America”
    James Lappin, EAP Tutor, Glasgow University

    “American Soul: Biblical Allusions & Big Ideas”
    Ken M. Penner, Professor of Religious, Studies, St. Francis Xavier University

    Mike Scott, Author for BonosBible.com

    Chair: Cathleen Falsani, author, journalist and co-host of the new podcast Artist Care and Feeding (debuting Oct 20).
    Friday, Oct. 23, 1 pm
  1. Blessings from the Stage: U2’s Live Representations of Americ(an Soul) in Form and Content

    “But I Still Haven’t Found … : The Joshua Tree Tour & U2’s Evolving Idea of ‘Liveness’”
    Gianni Sibilla, ALMED School of Media and Entertainment, Università Cattolica di Milano

    “Soul Work: Two Blessings and the eXPERIENCE Tour”
    Steve Taylor, Senior Lecturer, Department of Theology, Flinders University

    Chair: Brian Johnston, Visiting Assistant Professor | Faculty Advisor: Miami University Debate Team, Department of Media, Journalism & Film

    Wednesday, Oct. 21, 4 pm
  1. From the Book of Your Heart

    It’s A Musical Journey: The Joshua Tree & National Identity
    Bradley Morgan, Partnerships Director for CHIRP Radio, Chicago, and Associate Board Member for the Art Institute of Chicago’s Gene Siskel Film Center
    Personal narrative and reading

    Biographing An Irishman In America: The Curious Case of Paul Hewson
    Travis Thrasher, Author
    Personal narrative and reading

    Chair: Scott Calhoun, Director of the U2 Conference, Professor of English, Cedarville University

    Friday, Oct. 23, 4 pm

III. Presentations, Conversations and Performances. One or Two Presenters with a Host. Scheduled for 60 Minutes Including Q&A.

  1. The Truth Can Be Awkward: Discussing U2’s Critique of Racism and Violence in America
    Presentation and Open Discussion
    Jeffrey Blount, Author of The Emancipation of Evan Walls and Emmy Award-Winning NBC Television Director

    Rebecca Bruff, Author of Trouble the Water

    Host: Nathan Frank, PhD Candidate, English Literature, University of Virginia

    Monday, Oct. 19, 10 am
  1. WATCH MORE TV: U2 Performances on American Television
    Presentation with additional watch party of TV clips
    Jackie Clary, Archival Researcher

    Host: Sherry Lawrence, Staff Writer and podcast contributor, atu2.com

    Tuesday, Oct. 20, 7 pm
  1. When Steven Comes Marching Home Again: An American Soldier & U2 Fan’s Poetry and Perspective
    Personal narrative and reading
    Steven Croft, Former Sergeant/E5, US Army and Longtime U2 Fan, Marshes of Glynn Libraries Staff, Brunswick, Georgia

    Host: Scott Calhoun, Director, The U2 Conference, Professor of English, Cedarville University

    Friday, Oct. 23, 6 pm
  1. Where the Streets Have Your Name
    Hosted discussion, open to all, about U2’s “American Soul” compared to the American Soul of your experience
    Verlinda Henning, Community leader, U2 fan on a perpetual journey of discovery and spiritual pilgrim, Memphis, Tennessee

    Host: TBD

    Sunday, Oct. 18, 3 pm
  1. “Our Words Will Be Louder”
    Performance and Interview with HuDost

    Host: TBD

    Saturday, October 24, 8:00 pm

  1. TART Talk: How Has U2 Rocked Your Vote?
    A hosted conversation with U2 fans about how U2 inspired your activism
    and politics, open to all and recorded for editing for a future Garden Tarts podcast

    Jenny Steadman and Hillary Frank, The Garden Tarts, The U2-ish Podcast, Kissing Lips & Breaking Hearts

    Host: Sherry Lawrence, Staff Writer and podcast contributor, atu2.com

    Wednesday, October 21, 6 pm
  1. Religious Nuts, Political Fanatics & Drunk Chickens: Eating U2’s America
    A cook-along presentation and conversation, with recipes and ingredient lists supplied in advance
    Gary Stevenson, Chef, Theo’s Feast

    Host: Scott Calhoun, Director of the U2 Conference, Professor of English, Cedarville University

    Saturday, Oct 24, 3 pm
  1. Plant a Demon Seed: Revisiting America In The Film Rattle and Hum
    Presentation and Conversation after viewing Rattle and Hum
    Theodore Louis Trost, Professor, Department of Religious Studies and New College, University of Alabama

    Helena Torres Montes García, Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, México City Campus

    Host: TBD

    Tuesday, Oct 20, 3 pm
  1. Sampling U2 For The American Classroom: A Roundtable for Educators
    Presentation and hosted roundtable, open to all
    Dave Whitt, Professor, Communication Studies, Nebraska Wesleyan University

    Brian Johnston, Visiting Assistant Professor, Faculty Advisor: Miami Debate Club, Department of Media, Journalism & Film Miami University

    Host: TBD

    Saturday, Oct 24, 10 am
  1. Borne of Sound: U2’s Influence on an American Songwriter
    Presentation of two original songs, with backstory & discussion of U2’s influence (conscious & subconscious) on the themes, lyrics, and production choices of each.
    JuliAnne Wright

    Host: TBD

    Sunday, Oct 18, 7 pm

IV. Special Interest Conversations Open to All.

  1. The BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, or Person of Color) U2 Fan: Sharing Your Experiences
    Host: Kimberly Mack, Assistant Professor of African American Literature and Culture, The University of Toledo
    Saturday, Oct 24, 12 PM

  2. Have Fandom, Will Travel: U2 Fans Who Travel The World to See U2 Host: Sherry Lawrence, Staff Writer and podcast contributor, atu2.com
    Thursday, Oct 22, 4 PM

  3. Of Rights & Equality: U2’s Dialogue With America’s Cultural Values
    Host: Tania Johnson, Independent Scholar
    Monday, Oct 19, 6 PM

  4. The U2 Studies Network Launch Meeting: Inaugural Gathering and Discussion for Those Working in the Field of U2 Studies
    Host: Scott Calhoun, Director of the U2 Conference, Professor of English, Cedarville University
    Wednesday, Oct 20, 1 PM

The U2 Conference logo and site design by Beth Nabi.