Bruce Springsteen, Cultural Studies, and the Runaway American Dream

Thursday, October 25
7:00 to 8:30 p.m., Musser Auditorium, The Conference Center at Penn State Great Valley

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Penn State professors Kenneth Womack and Jerry Zolten, co-authors of a new book of essays that explores the work of Bruce Springsteen, discuss the evolution of his words and music as a cultural touchstone in American life and history. Using musical and filmic examples, they trace his emergence as an iconic musical, political, and literary figure in the fabric of U.S. culture and show how his music continues to impact the ways we think about politics, religion, gender, and the pursuit of the American dream. NOTE: Copies of the book will be for sale; a book-signing will be held after the  presentation.

Kenneth Womack is professor of English and associate dean for academic affairs at Penn State. His publications include: Postwar Academic Fiction: Satire, Ethics, Community (2001), Key Concepts in Literary Theory (2001), Mapping the Ethical Turn: A Reader in Ethics, Culture, and Literary Theory (2001), Reading the Beatles: Cultural Studies, Literary Criticism, and the Fab Four (2006), Postmodern Humanism in Contemporary Literature and Culture: Reconciling the Void (2006), Long and Winding Roads: The Evolving Artistry of the Beatles (2007), The Cambridge Companion to the Beatles (2009), and a novel, John Doe No. 2 and the Dreamland Motel (2010).

Jerry Zolten is associate professor of communication arts and sciences at Penn State, where he teaches courses on communications, American studies, and popular music. He is the producer of CDs by the Fairfield Four and their bass singer Isaac Freeman, co-host with cartoonist Robert Crumb of Chimpin' the Blues, a public radio program on the history of early blues, and the author of Great God A'Mighty! The Dixie Hummingbirds: Celebrating the Rise of Soul Gospel Music (2002). He also contributed a chapter, "The Beatles as Recording Artists," to Cambridge Companion to the Beatles edited by Kenneth Womack.