Here by the sea and sand: A symposium on Quadrophenia (Brighton, July 14, 2014)

full name / name of organization: 
Centre for Modernist Studies, University of Sussex

Keynote Speaker: James Wood (Harvard University, The New Yorker)

"I don't want to be the same as everyone else. That's why I'm a mod, see?"

Released 40 years ago in 1973, The Who's ambitious concept album Quadrophenia portrays the 1964 August bank holiday battle between mods and rockers on Brighton beach from the perspective of the young disillusioned pill-popping mod protagonist, Jimmy. Franc Roddam's iconic film of the album was made in 1979, and in the past year the Who has toured playing the entire album. Quadrophenia, the album, was a comparative failure when released, but has since been recognised by many critics as their masterpiece. Quadrophenia is a complex and multilayered work, combining some of the Who's most arresting music with a variety of other art forms (Townshend's story in the liner notes, Ethan Russell's compelling book of photographs). It is embedded in two sites, London and Brighton, as well as in many more personal and political histories.

The Centre for Modernist Studies at Sussex has decided to live up to its name by holding a one-day symposium on the album and film. Quadrophenia fans, please consider joining us.

Possible topics include but are not limited to: the representation of Mods; Mod revival(s) and nostalgia; Englishness; class; violence; crowds; work; adolescence; masculinity; the relationship between the film and the album; the concept/double album; the accompanying book of photographs and Townshend's text; influences; legacies; Quadrophenia as rock opera; Quadrophenia in the Who's oeuvre; the self-conscious representation of the Who's history; the performance of it in the current moment; pills; punks; godfathers; sea; sand; rain; bellboys.

Paper proposals that mix personal with critical, historical, musicological, or cultural-studies analyses are welcome.

Please send short (300-500 word) proposals for 15-20 minute papers and a short bio of yourself to Pam Thurschwell, by 1 December 2013.