Page last updated at 10:12 GMT, Thursday, 27 August 2009 11:12 UK

'U2' can become an expert

Bono (left) and Larry Mullen Jnr from U2 playing at Croke Park
Bono's opinions on Jesus are being discussed at the conference

When U2 sang "Sunday, Bloody Sunday", were they paying tribute to one of the blackest days in Northern Ireland's history, or was Alan Partridge right and Bono was just on about his least favourite day of the week?

Well perhaps this question will be one of many answered at what is being billed as the "first academic conference on the world's biggest band".

U2: The Hype and The Feedback is being held over three days from 2 October at the campus of North Carolina Central University in Durham.

Other topics up for discussion at the event include Bono Versus Nick Cave on Jesus and Representations of Laissez Faire Inherent in U2's Music.

Conference organisers have invited fans of the Irish rock band to come along and spend the weekend "talking, listening and thinking about what U2 has done".

"We're bringing together scholars, teachers, students, journalists, clergy, musicians and intellectually curious U2 fans for a rich program of exploring this truly one-of-a-kind band for a truly one-of-a-kind conference," their website reads.

"If you think U2 has played a role in changing the worlds of music, entertainment, popular culture, humanitarian relief, peace and social justice efforts - or has changed the world in you - then come join the conversation."

The conference, which will involve 40 presentations, has been organised by Dr Scott Calhoun, assistant professor of English at Cedarville University, Ohio.

It has been timed to coincide with U2's concert in nearby Raleigh.

An international line-up of speakers will talk about topics ranging from The Meme of Surrender: Bono's Lyrics of Recovery and Realisation to U2, Paul Ricoeur and the Hermeneutics of Personhood.

Confirmed speakers will include Rolling Stone contributing editor Anthony DeCurtis, Daily Telegraph columnist Neil McCormick and Ugandan Aids activist Agnes Nyamawaro.

The conservative voice in the songs of U2 will be examined by Stephen Catanzarite, managing director of the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center, while Jim Henke of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will discuss how U2 saved rock and roll.

Dr Greg Clarke from the Centre for Public Christianity in Sydney will give the paper Bono Versus Nick Cave on Jesus while, political science professor Paul Viotti is delivering his paper Botanising on Asphalt: Representations of Laissez Faire Inherent in U2's Music.

But despite the high-brow topics, Dr Calhoun said the conference would be open to all.

"This will be the place to meet and hear people long connected to U2 and to covering their career," he said.

"We know U2's appeal is without borders and everyone is welcome. Whether you come in tweed or leather, do vinyl or download, you'll connect with people who want to talk about U2."



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