[UPDATE] CFP: Edited Collection on Bruce Springsteen for Routledge Studies in Popular Music Series

I am soliciting abstracts by scholars from all disciplines, including scholar-fans and fan-scholars, to be considered for inclusion in an edited collection on Bruce Springsteen, which will eventually be submitted to Routledge’s Studies in Popular Music series. The editor of this series has expressed an interest in seeing a Springsteen collection proposal.

In the middle of Bruce Springsteen’s 2012 Wrecking Ball tour promotional interview with the Paris media, one reporter observed, “so many people these past couple years look to you for your interpretation of events… . Look at us: when we were waiting for you earlier, so many people care about what you think, and what you feel about what is happening in the world.”

For many around the globe, Springsteen has become a voice of the everyday citizen in a political and social climate where such voices are marginalized. He has received a Kennedy Center Honor and with Peter Seeger sang before millions after Barack Obama was elected President for the first time. He has actively located his work within the lineage of Woody Guthrie and Seeger, reinforcing the necessity of contemporary folk music. In his SXSW Keynote he also asserted the importance of early rock and roll on his work, exclaiming, “Listen up, youngsters: this is how successful theft is accomplished!” In other places, he has discussed the significant influence of film and short stories, often describing his records as cinematic and looking for sounds that would evoke certain images. A new community of musicians, such as Tom Morello, Mumford and Sons, the Hold Steady, and Arcade Fire, has looked to him as a guide. In his most recent albums, Springsteen remixes work in the public domain and covers lesser known artists whose work speaks in a voice similar to his own. He has become quite adept at composing songs that respond to immediate contemporary events, such as “American Skin (41 Shots)” and “How Can a Good Man Stand Such Times and Live.” As performers, Springsteen and the E Street Band are incomparable, with shows lasting over 3 hours without a break.

Despite his contemporary appeal, Springsteen also seems to be rooted in the traditional relationship between label and artist. His recent move to release live versions of his shows soon after the events, while seemingly progressive, reinforces artist- and label-centric publishing with the possibility of refocusing fans on official bootlegs rather than those they compose themselves. Yet, Springsteen doesn’t seem to mind—and rather enjoys—fans recording his concerts with their phones and uploading them to YouTube. He is genuinely appreciative of the efforts fans go through to see his shows and has fun with their sign requests. The decades-long conversation he has been having with his fans (and fans with other fans) has, like all conversations, been made more complex as a result of convergent media.

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Winter Break 2013 – 2014 To-Do List

My Summer to-do list helped me stay on track with many different projects, so I’m taking a few moments to compose my Winter Break 2013 – 2014 to-do list. Classes ended December 18 and start again on January 21, and since I’m writing this on December 22, I have just under month to try to get them all done. It’s going to be tight with only a few hours in the morning to work and if not exhausted some time after the boys are in bed. . . .


  • fun adventures with Wendy, Hydan, and Seeger
    • skiing at Stratton (no skiing due to the polar vortex, but ice skating and other fun times with family and DI)
    • visit family (visited W’s family over Christmas)
    • ice skating (ice skated in Greensburg, PA, and Manchester, VT)
    • see friends in Schenectady, NY (yep)
  • make 2014 calendar using Hydan’s artwork
  • make Seeger’s birth photo book (started January 9, finished January 22)
  • move my home office to make room for Seeger’s bedroom (started January 11, office in working order January 12 but much to move still)
  • get a dog


  • Compose article for BOSS: The Biannual Online-Journal of Springsteen Studies, due January 1, submitted on January 1 at 10:30pm
  • abstract for special issue of Kairos, due January 1 (first draft due Feb 14): drafted December 22; submitted “Baby, We Were Born to Tweet: #Springsteen, In Situ Tweeting, and the Emergence of a Distributed Composing Ecology” proposal on 12/24/13; accepted on January 8
  • Compose article for the European Fan special issue of Transformative Works and Cultures, due February 1 (started January 20)
  • begin interviews based on my Springsteen Survey
  • update Springsteen study IRB, due January 15 (submitted, January 14)
  • review #cwcon 2014 proposals, due January 3, completed December 25
  • book proposal for Routledge edited collection on Springsteen
  • finish Wrecking Ball Tour bumps chart


  • grade #wecf13 work, due January 3; completed January 2, submitted January 3
  • grade portfolio seminar portfolios, due January 3; completed January 2, submitted January 3
  • prepare courses for the spring semester (#core2s14 done January 14)
  • add inner navigation to course web sites that have since disappeared after the update
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My Professor Tweets: Archives, Visualizations, and Thoughts

On Thursday, September 3, my friend @mattthomas decided to do a search for “my American Studies professor” and retweeted the following:

retweets from Matt Thomas

This led, it seems, to a search for “my professor,” which opened the food-gates:

retweets by Matt ThomasI didn’t start to really see what was happening until September 5, and by then Matt was tweeting little other than all things “my professor”-related. I asked him if he was archiving the tweets and he said he wasn’t. On September 6, I decided I had to archive them—there was just too much interest from, well, everyone in the world. I’m happy to post them here for your enjoyment.

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Screencast and Video of My Computers and Writing 2013 Presentation

Updated 12 June 2013 I presented “Baby, We were Born to Tweet: #Springsteen, Concert Tweets, and an Emergent Transmediated Composing Community” at the 2013 Computers and Writing Conference.  In it I discuss my large-scale study of Springsteen fans on Twitter in which I use grounded theory to analyze the data. My presentation was part of THE GREATEST PANEL IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE, On the Digital Rhetorics of Fans and Fan Communities, with superheroes Tekla Hawkins, Kyle Stedman, and Amanda Wall. You can view the talk in two ways: screencast made after the conference or a video of the talk made while I was giving it.

The screencast is slightly different from the talk I gave in person. One slide has been updated to fix a typo, and two have been reversed to make the presentation more smooth. I also seem to have talked much longer here. Not sure why. The quality also isn’t as good as I’d like. If I can get a better version online, I’ll update the post.

Here is the actual talk. Note that at around 14minutes, I say “qualitative” when discussing Franco Moretti. I should have said, “quantitative.”

Let me know what you think!

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