Attention: This site looks better in the latest Mozilla or Internet Explorer.

The Humanities Conference 2003

Home | Newsletter | Call for Papers | Register

Presentation Details

 Download: Poster | Brochure 1 | Brochure 2    

Zoo World Order: Rock and Roll as Humanities

Mark Wagner.

Through the use of video and discussion, Zoo World Order will be a presentation that will invite participants to consider Rock and Roll as an art form deserving serious study. Rock and roll music, which also goes by the name Pop, Hip Hop, Rap. Punk, has become, by necessity, generated by the poor and lower classes, a form of political speech and political art. It is also a postmodern form.
18 months before Elvis Presley opened the white market to the black sound with his first hit, Heartbreak Hotel, Waiting for Godot opened in Paris. (Godot would make its New York debut 18 months after Elvis's hit goes nova.)
Rock and Roll also has its roots in the years that Michel Foucault, that prophet of postmodern longing-for-truth, cited as the years when the world civilization began to move through a "Break in Episteme" a change in consciousness on a profound level (perhaps known only to Foucault himself.) Many other historical associations follow, from The Cold War, the age of assassination, the wave of leukemia that begins in the wake of the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. There's monkeys shot in to space -- Baker and Abel as television ushers in a release from boredom through a kind of conscripted boredom.
Any two year period can no doubt claim an equally auspicious historical carnival of events, but the point here is that rock and roll begins at a time when American society, its technology and politics, are evolving in ways that mark a distinctive break in the traditions of the past, a break that has continued in to the present marked by both crisis and opportunity.


Mark Wagner  (United States)
Visiting Assistant Professor
Nichols College, Dudley MA, USA

Mark Wagner is a poet, author, journalist, musician and instructor. His first book of poetry, A Cabin in a Field, appeared on Mellen Poetry Press in May of 2001. He lives on a small farm in Dudley Massachusetts with collage artist Monica Elefterion and their son Myles.

  • Inquiry in to human values
  • Rock and Roll music
  • Consideration of low art vs. high art debate

(60 min Workshop, English)