The Grateful Dead and American Culture
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
The Grateful Dead created, explored and populated a cultural landscape that continues to thrive in the most familiar and yet unexpected ways more than a decade after the last Grateful Dead show. It is a landscape that has come to include new avenues through which serious scholarship can intersect with the creative, spontaneous, and celebratory energy for which the Grateful Dead experience is known.
In the fall of 2007, the University of Massachusetts Amherst will explore the landscape of the Grateful Dead in the classroom and through a program of public symposia, workshops, exhibits and performances. Undergraduate and graduate courses offered by the UMass Amherst Department of History will employ popular music as a lens through which to examine how memory and myth collide, and will explore the myriad demographic shifts, economic transformations, political upheavals, and personal challenges that faced Americans of varying backgrounds and ideologies from the 1950s to the present.
On November 16th-17th, 2007, the University will host the symposium, Unbroken Chain: The Grateful Dead In Music, Culture, And Memory. Expanding the focus of the courses, and with the participation of UMass alumnus (Ph.D., History 1979) and Grateful Dead publicist Dennis McNally as well as numerous other scholars and luminaries, the symposium will combine academic inquiry, performance, and artistic appreciation in an innovative multi-disciplinary, multi-media program.
The Unbroken Chain symposium is presented with support from the UMass Amherst Graduate School, Department of History, Fine Arts Center and University Outreach.
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