“America Changed Through Music”: Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music at 60
UEA London, Saturday 15th September 2012
Keynote: Professor Geoff Ward, Royal Holloway, University of London
2012 marks the sixtieth anniversary of Harry Smith’s landmark Anthology of American Folk Music, which over the six decades of its existence has exerted considerable influence on generations of musicians, artists, and writers. In his speech at the Grammy Awards in 1991, when he received a Chairman's Merit Award for his contributions to American folk music, Smith claimed: “I’m glad to say that my dreams came true. I saw America changed through music.” This one day interdisciplinary conference, hosted by the UEA School of American Studies at UEA London, invites papers that will consider Smith’s claim: to what extent has America “changed through music”, specifically the music brought together on the Anthology of American Folk Music? More generally, discussions on the day will examine the wider legacy of the Anthology of American Folk Music on twentieth-century music, art, and literature. Possible topics could include:
- The Anthology in relation to Smith’s other interests and activities including, for example, film, painting, and anthropology
- Smith’s poetics of magic and the occult in the context of the Anthology
- The Anthology’s role in defining/redefining notions of the “Old” and the “New Weird America”
- The treatment of ethnic and cultural identity in the Anthology
- The Anthology and folklore
- Analysis of individual artists and songs from the Anthology
- Vernacular aesthetics
- The transatlantic scope of the Anthology
- The Anthology in the internet age
Abstracts of 350 words with a brief biographical note to be submitted to Dr Thomas Ruys Smith [Thomas.Smith@uea.ac.uk] and Dr Ross Hair [R.Hair@uea.ac.uk] by June 1st 2012.
Further information will soon be available at: http://americachangedthroughmusic.blogspot.com/.
For more information about the School of American Studies at the University of East Anglia: http://www.uea.ac.uk/ams.
For more information about UEA London: http://london.uea.ac.uk/.