Expressions of Cultural Intersections in Bob Dylan’s Art

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
NeMLA 2019 50t Anniversary Convention Washington, DC
contact email: 

The focus of this roundtable “Expressions of Cultural Intersections in Bob Dylan’s Art” is to explore the many and diverse expressions of cultural identities, challenges to those identities, and sources of the challenges, found in Bob Dylan’s art.  As a nation dedicated to the concept of the melting pot, the United States in particular has been a site of transnational migration and relocation that has been deeply enriched by popular culture, and Bob Dylan is widely recognized as America’s troubadour.  In many songs, through the art from of lyrical poetry, Dylan masterfully identifies the many challenges experienced by diverse individuals facing social, political, cultural and economic change, exploitation, loss of identity and other jarring forms of cultural dislocation.  Yet, Dylan universalizes those particular experiences without losing the core perspective which enables us to understand the critical importance of unique identities.  That treatment gives to the popular culture a richly complex communal voice of those particular identities.  That his art form occupies the domain of popular music serves as a bridge for his audience to understand more deeply the realities of those who occupy those dislocated spaces.  This roundtable seeks to examine some of the ways in which this transcultural location has yielded interesting examples of popular culture in the American context.  In addition, the roundtable will hopefully demonstrate the power of trans-cultural experiences to challenge and reform many traditional boundaries.