The U2 Conference 2013

Call for papers
The U2 Conference 2013
26-27 April 2013
Cleveland, Ohio

The U2 Conference will hold its second meeting for an international gathering of scholars, critics, teachers, and fans in collaboration with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, 26-27 April 2013. The keynote speaker is Ann Powers, popular music critic for National Public Radio. The inaugural 2009 meeting drew a multi-disciplinary group from seven countries and featured over 40 formal presentations, three films, and a weekend of networking opportunities. It also produced the edited collection of essays Exploring U2: Is This Rock ‘n’ Roll? (Scarecrow Press, 2011).

The 2013 conference theme is “U2: TRANS-,” indicating an interest in U2 as going across, over, and beyond boundaries in rock and roll and working toward making moments of passing through or crossing over possible for fans as well as for the band itself. Conference organizers suggest a focus on TRANS- concepts such as transform, transgress, translate, and transcend, but encourage proposals on other related concepts applicable to U2 and popular music studies, such as transition, trans-Atlantic, transact, transport, transfix, and transparent. Proposals on other general topics are welcomed too. There will be parallel tracks for both academic and popular audiences, which will be open to all attendees.

With each album and tour over the past three decades, most recently the album No Line on the Horizon and the 360° Tour, U2 has presented scholars and fans new opportunities to explore the band’s work and influence in the areas of music, performance, technology, commerce, art, design, film, theater, popular culture, literature, politics and advocacy, and theology and spirituality. Rather than remaining stagnant or occupying a niche, U2 has reconstructed their images over time as individuals and a band, on artistic, professional, and political levels, raising questions such as, but not limited to:

– What is the nature of this metamorphosis?
– How and where are these conversions evident?
– What effect does U2’s changes have on their audience and the audience have on U2’s changes?
– How does the band translate its experience of contemporary Ireland and the world into its music and tours?
– How has U2 mediated other artistic and music genres into its work?
– How does the band negotiate the boundaries of its subject matter and audience?
– How has U2 maintained relevance within a changing music business?
– When and how has U2 transgressed a boundary, and to what effect?
– In what ways does the U2 fan and concert experience rise above the corporeal, liminal, and temporal?

Individual presenters should submit a paper title, 250-word abstract, and presenter information including full name, institutional affiliation, contact information, and a one-page CV. Individual presentations should be designed to last 15 minutes. Panel proposals should specify either three or four presenters and should be designed to finish within 60 minutes, and should include both a 125-word overview for the panel and 250-word abstracts for each presentation, along with each presenter’s information including full name, institutional affiliation, contact information, and a one-page CV. Please send abstracts and vitae as separate documents for panel proposals.

The proposal deadline is 1 December 2012. Submit proposals to Selections and notifications will be made in early December. Presenters are expected to pay the registration fee.

Call for Panel Chairs: Those interested in chairing an academic audience session should also submit by 1 December a separate proposal including name, institutional affiliation, contact information, a one-page CV, and a 250-word statement indicating your interest and qualification for chairing a session at the U2 Conference. Chairs are expected to pay the registration fee. Panel Chair proposals should be sent to

Conference programmers are also developing a parallel track of presentations of interest to a popular audience and have issued a similar call for presentations at