CfP – Prince from Minneapolis Symposium

APRIL 16-18, 2018


Prince was proud to hail from Minneapolis. Continuing to live and work there,
he put the city firmly on the map of the music industry through the
Minneapolis Sound. Until his unexpected death on April 21, 2016, he hosted
parties for local fans at his Paisley Park studio. Prince is probably the only
global megastar who has remained so embedded in the cultural life of their

This symposium will investigate Prince’s unique relation to Minneapolis and
Minnesota. What demographic, cultural, and economic conditions were in place
for Prince to emerge as a musical genius? How was a new sound born from a
small African American population in a very white and segregated state? Why
did Prince stay there? How did he reinvent the aesthetics and politics of
blackness? How did he at the same time win over white and international
audiences? How did Minnesotans, both queer and straight, react to Prince’s
ambivalent black male sexuality? How is Minneapolis represented in Purple
Rain? How do we interpret his spiritual explorations? What kind of utopia did
Paisley Park embody? What was Prince’s mode of operation in the studio? How
did the Minneapolis sound affect hiphop, jazz, rock, and electronic dance
music? Why do music tourists flock to this city from Europe and Australia?

Appreciating Prince’s impact will provide a window on fundamental questions in
US and Minnesotan society. At a time when the political achievements of the
1960s are under grave threat, we hope understanding where Prince comes from
will make some room for reimagining social change.

Send paper title, abstract (300 words), and short bio (200 words) to
PrinceFromMPLS(at) by October 20, 2017.

In collaboration with the symposium, the University of Minnesota’s Weisman Art
Museum is organizing an exhibition organizing an exhibition, “Prince from
Minneapolis”, celebrating Prince’s local legacy, from December through June.
Immediately after the symposium Paisley Park is hosting “Celebration 2018” and
there will be other commemorations in the Twin Cities.
• music industry and technology
• musicology and music history
• name change and legal battles
• visual arts
• style, fashion, design
• protest, freedom, revolution
• segregation and migration
• blackness and hybridity
• gender, sexuality, family, love
• apocalypse and messianism
• vegan, environmental, health ethics
• afterlife and remembrance
• Minneapolis and the world

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