TU announces Institute for Bob Dylan Studies
The University of Tulsa's new program is a broad, interdisciplinary research center based on campus and dedicated to exploring the work, life and legacy of Bob Dylan.
Bob Dylan in 1965 at Columbia Studios in New York City. The image is one of 6,000 items in Tulsa’s Bob Dylan Archive.
Courtesy the Bob Dylan Archive
College students sitting around, listening to Bob Dylan albums: That’s what many picture upon learning of the University of Tulsa’s recent emphasis on bringing the musical icon and Nobel Laureate “into the classroom.”
This past October, the university announced the creation of the TU Institute for Bob Dylan Studies, a broad, interdisciplinary research center based on campus and dedicated to exploring the work, life and legacy of Dylan.
The institute sponsors scholarly symposia, public programming, student assistantships, training for teachers, community-based initiatives and original research in the Bob Dylan Archive, housed at TU’s Helmerich Center for American Research at Gilcrease Museum.
What can Bob Dylan teach us?
“We can find so much of ourselves and our world in his lyrics,” says institute co-director Sean Latham. “He expresses at the highest level what it means to be a human being.”
Some people are so fascinating, entire courses could be devoted to what they can teach us. Bob Dylan is one, according to the directors of the University of Tulsa’s new Institute for Bob Dylan Studies.
Creation of the institute was driven by the arrival of the Bob Dylan Archive in Tulsa, says Sean Latham, an English professor who was already teaching courses on Dylan’s lyrics when the archive was announced.
His co-director, Brian Hosmer, a professor of Western American history, says Dylan is studied by historians, musicologists and literary critics alike, and the institute encourages these individuals to use the archives for original research. Additionally, it hopes to stimulate research and study that will enrich classroom experiences.
This month, the institute will present “Dylan in the Classroom,” a symposium on the ways Dylan’s music — and popular music, more generally — can be successfully taught and studied from elementary classrooms through high school and college. Although aimed at students and educators, the symposium is free and open to the public.
“Some teachers will focus on lyrics and a deep reading of Dylan’s works,” Hosmer says. “Others will be encouraged to see Dylan’s career as a vehicle for understanding American history and culture during the second half of the 20th century and into the 21st century. (And) we hope to have some discussion of music and composition.”
Dylan in the Classroom
7 p.m., Friday, keynote and opening reception; 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Saturday, panels and workshop on music, literature and pop culture, and workshops on syllabus and curriculum design. Helmerich Center for American Research at Gilcrease Museum, 1400 N. Gilcrease Museum Road.
Free; register at dylan.utulsa.edu/dylan-classroom-2018.