Category Archives: announcement

Bruce Springsteen and Popular Music to be Published by Routledge

A little over a year ago I released a CFP for Edited Collection on Bruce Springsteen for Routledge Studies in Popular Music Series. I received over 50 chapter proposals from around the world and, with the help of Susette Brooks, I submitted an initial proposal to Routledge in October 2014. After making revisions based on reviewer, I submitted an updated version of the table of contents on March 6, 2014.

I’m pleased to announce that Routledge will publish my edited collection, Bruce Springsteen and Popular Music: Rhetoric, Memorial, and Contemporary Culture, as part of the Studies in Popular Music series. It should appear in hard cover some time in 2016.

Working Abstract draft
This interdisciplinary volume enters the scholarly conversation about Bruce Springsteen at the moment when he has reinforced his status of global superstar and achieved the status of social critic. Covering musical and cultural developments, chapters primarily consider work Springsteen has released since 9/11—that is, released during a period of continued global unrest, economic upheaval, and social change—under the headings War, Fear, and Memorial; Gender and Sexual Orientation; Lineage and Legacy; and Toward a Rhetoric of Springsteen. The collection engages Springsteen and popular music as his contemporary work is just beginning to be understood in terms of its impact on popular culture and music, applying new areas of inquiry to Springsteen and putting Springsteen fan writing within the same binding as scholarly writing to show how together they create a more nuanced understanding of an artist. Established and emerging Springsteen scholars approach work from disciplines representing four countries including Rhetoric and Composition, Musicology, Labor Studies, American History, Gender Studies, Literature, Communications, Sociology, Theology, and Government. Offering context, critique, and expansive understanding of Springsteen and his work, this book contributes to Springsteen scholarship and the study of popular music by showing Springsteen’s broadening academic appeal as well as his escalating legacy on new musicians and contemporary culture.

Contributors
Owen Cantrell, Georgia State University, USA
Holly Casio, London, England
Francesco Cassiani, Junior International Academy, Italy
Peter Chianca, Boston, USA
Jonathan Cohen, University of Virginia
Sara Gulgas, University of Pittsburgh, USA
Megan Faver Hartline, University of Louisville, USA
Nadine Hubbs, University of Michigan, USA
Connor Kirkpatrick, Edinburgh, Scotland
Donna Luff, Harvard Medical School, USA
Lorraine Mangioni, Antioch University, USA
Pamela Moss, University of Victoria, Canada
Karen O’Donnell, University of Exeter, England
Lauren Onkey, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, USA
Alan Rauch, University of North Carolina, USA
Eric Sean Rawson, University of Southern California, USA
Jason Schneider, DePaul University, USA
Martha Nell Smith, University of Maryland, USA
Jason Stonerook, University of Maryland, USA
Scott Wager, Miami University, USA
William I. Wolff, Rowan University, USA

(cross-posted at williamwolff.org)

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549 survey responses donated to the Bruce Springsteen special collection

One of the questions in my 7-Question Springsteen Fan Survey asked respondents:

Why Bruce Springsteen? That is, what is it about Bruce Springsteen (the man and/or his music) that makes you a Springsteen fan. Please limit your response to 1500 characters. If you prefer, you may answer in a language other than English.

After completing that question, respondents were asked to choose if they wanted their response donated to the Friends of the Bruce Springsteen Special Collection. I’m excited to announce that this evening I emailed Melanie Paggioli, Executive Director of the Friends, a document containing 549 responses to the question (178 respondents declined to have their response donated). The responses total 231,308 characters (without spaces), 54,609 words, 3,450 lines, over 85 pages. In other words, this is a robust contribution composed by fans.

According to their web site, “The Friends of the Bruce Springsteen Special Collection is a ‘by fans for fans’ organization that came together ten years ago, when we recognized that much of the written history of Bruce and his bands was in danger of being lost. From the original donations of 850 publications in 2001 we’ve created a world-class repository of books, magazines, tour books, song books, fanzines and other documents covering the entire history of Bruce Springsteen and his bands. Thanks to our current Friends membership, the Collection has grown to over 17,000 items.”

The responses are passionate, emotional, often funny, and quite revealing into just what makes someone a fan of Bruce Springsteen. A few are in foreign languages. Here’s a Wordle of the responses (top 500 words, “Bruce” and “Springsteen” removed):

Wordle of the responsesAs you can see, for most it’s about the music (mentioned 619 times). I’m curious to learn more about the life (298 times)-long love (159 times) affair these fans have, and how often it’s tied to concert (231 times) experiences.

The responses will eventually be located in the collection currently housed at Monmouth University alongside the many other wonderful texts, artifacts, and memorabilia archived there. They will become part of the permanent collection, adding to the rich legacy of Springsteen and the impact he’s had on fans as individuals and the culture at large. Future researchers and fans will be able to look these words and learn more about why Springsteen has been important as a musician and a human being. I hope these will be just the first in a growing body of fan-specific documents housed in the collection.

It is an honor to have been trusted with these thoughts about Bruce Springsteen and I am proud to donate them on the respondents’ behalf.

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