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Into the Mystic: Secular Music as a Quest for More

This session will explore how popular music is used by fans and musicians to work out their personal and communal spiritual quests. Focusing on rock and hip hop, this panel features practicing musicians and scholars who share an interest and expertise in these questions. In its origins, rock and roll learned from and rebelled against church teachings, music, and morality. Since then, popular music's negotiation with religious authority, and its ability to foster spiritual exploration, has been one of its most reliable motifs. This now takes place in global rock and roll and hip hop scenes that resource, refigure, and reject not only Christianity but many religions and also different forms of secularity. What are some essential characteristics of rock and roll as a place for spiritual quests today? For those of us for whom music is a way of life, as musicians or fans, what do these quests suggest about how we think about our own lives?

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Tom Beaudoin, Associate Professor of Theology, Fordham University


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