[csaa-forum] CFP: Death and the rock star
catherine.strong at monash.edu
Tue Apr 24 09:47:29 CST 2012
CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS
*Death and the Rock Star*
The recent untimely deaths of Amy Winehouse and Whitney Houston, and the
resurrection of Tupac Shakur for a performance at the Coachella music
festival, have focused the media spotlight, yet again, on the relationship
between rock, popular music and death. The 'sex, drugs and rock’n’roll'
lifestyle has left many casualties in its wake. Over time, however, as the
ranks of dead musicians have grown, so the types of death involved and the
reactions to them have diversified. Conversely, as the artists who were at
the forefront of the rock‘n’roll revolution of the 1950s and 1960s continue
to age, the idea of dying young and leaving a beautiful corpse (which gave
rise, for instance, to the myth of the '27 Club’), no longer carries the
same resonance that it once might have.
This volume will examine the cultural meanings associated with popular
music artists and death, and the editors invite contributions on this
theme. We are particularly interested in exploring how dead singers’ music
and memories live on, how the media portray a singer’s death, how a
singer’s death is absorbed by fans and other artists, how death generates
new memories and nostalgia, and how death can be ‘used’ by different
social, music and fan groups for different purposes.
An edited collection will be submitted to Ashgate, who have already
expressed a keen interest in the proposal. It is anticipated that
contributions from international scholars such as Andy Bennett (most
recently editor of *Britpop and the English Music Tradition*, Ashgate,
2010) and Olivier Julien (editor of *Sgt Pepper and the Beatles*, Ashgate,
2008) will be included.
Proposals for chapters are invited exploring any of the following themes
(this list is by no means exhaustive):
- Different kinds of death: accidental deaths, suicides, spectacular
deaths, quiet deaths, death from ‘natural’ causes and ‘old age’;
- Life beyond death: impersonators, song covers, tributes, fan culture
and memory work;
- Death and worship: comparisons with sainthood, ‘pilgrimages’ to
- Death and new media: availability of songs and performance through
YouTube; accessibility of the past;
- Legacies of rock stars: what happens to their music (re-issues, ‘lost’
recordings); how the music is incorporated into cultural memory (e.g.
through film soundtracks);
- Forgetting: deaths that fail to make a lasting impression, rediscovery
and new embodiments of ‘lost’ artists;
- Memory and nostalgia: retromania, cultural ‘discoveries’ of the past;
generational tastes, passing down music tastes; recuperating one’s youth
- Gender: differences in death between male and female stars (the tragic
- Death, place and identity: the importance of the geographical
locations where artists lived and died;
- Memorialisation, prestige and institutionalisation: the incorporation
of popular music stars into official discourse; museums and tourist
sites dedicated to artists (thanatotourism).
We welcome contributions from outside the ‘rock’ canon, and particularly
from non-Anglophone music cultures.
Abstracts of no more than 400 words should be sent to the editors,
Catherine Strong (catherine.strong at monash.edu) and Barbara Lebrun (
barbara.lebrun at manchester.ac.uk) no later than 15 July 2012. Acceptance of
articles will be advised by 15 October 2012 and completed chapters will be
required by 1 September 2013.
Dr Catherine Strong
Lecturer in Sociology
School of Political and Social Inquiry
Clayton Campus, Wellington Rd Clayton, VIC 3800
catherine.strong at monash.edu
Ph: +61 3 99050052
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