Play a Song for Me: The Politics, Selectivity, and Power of Bob Dylan’s Live Performances

deadline for submissions: 
May 24, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Erin C. Callahan/San Jacinto College and Court Carney/Stephen F. Austin State University



From his first major performance at Gerde’s Folk City in September of 1961, live performance has been a central part of Bob Dylan’s career.  More than the studio albums, Dylan’s concerts have provided him the opportunity to alter arrangements, change lyrics, and craft set lists further building his mystique as both artist and performer.  These variations and, at times, repetitions of or within the set lists, in particular, create their own text or texts ripe for analysis.


This collection proposes a new look at Dylan by examining the various ways in which his setlists reflected and refracted particular elements of his career. We seek essays covering Dylan’s setlists and performative life from a wide range of disciplines and perspectives.


Possible Topics:


His choice of material at political functions, protests, or rallies.


The inclusion of secular material on stage during the Gospel Era.


Dylan’s appearances on stage as guest artist or cameo.


The role of arranged setlists during the 1965-1966 World Tour.


The omission of songs from setlists.


The history of on-stage performances of a particular song.


An examination of the role of the setlist during specific tours (Rolling Thunder Review, Grateful Dead, Tom Petty).


Please send proposals of 300-500 words  and a brief bio to by May 24, 2021.