College of Liberal Arts

Bob Dylan: The Next Generation Undergraduate Lecture Series

Tuesday Mar 21, 2017 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM | Texas Union Theatre (UNB 2.228)

Bob Dylan: The Next Generation

Two Special Events from UGS, CoLA and the Moody College of Communication

March 20 & 21, 2017


“Don’t Look Back”: 50th Anniversary viewing of the legendary D.A. Pennebaker documentary

Q&A with Michael Chaiken, Curator of Bob Dylan Archive

WHEN:            Monday, March 20, 3:30--6 p.m
WHERE:           Belo Center for New Media Auditorium (BMC 2.106)


Looking Forward by Looking Back

ULS panel on the cultural meaning of the new Bob Dylan Archives

Michael Chaiken, Curator of Bob Dylan Archive
Thomas Staley, Former Director, Harry Ransom Center

Thomas Palaima, Classics Prof. and Dylan Scholar
Caroline Frick, RTF Prof. and Director of Texas Archive of the Moving Image

WHEN:             Tuesday, March 21, 7--8:30 p.m.

WHERE:           Texas Union Theatre (UNB 2.228)  


These events are FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. They are sponsored by the University Lecture Series of the School of Undergraduate Studies, the Senior Fellows Honors Program of the Moody College of Communication, and the Dickson Centennial Professorship in Classics of the College of Liberal Arts. Our very special thanks to Gavin Garcia, chair of the Music Commission of the city of Austin.


CONTACTS: Thomas Palaima, (512-680-6623); and Dave Junker, (512-773-0673)


As the 2016 winner of the Nobel Prize in literature, Bob Dylan became the first song writer to win the world’s most prestigious literary award, breaking another barrier in a long and protean career and assuring his legacy in our cultural history. But for an artist so prolific, evasive and expansive, how can such a legacy be usefully represented? What is important and what is not? To whom and to what ends?

Such questions strike at the heart of what it means to be a historian, an archivist and even a citizen. On March 20 and 21, The University of Texas at Austin will host “Bob Dylan: The Next Generation” for two special events that examine the grand questions of historiography as well as those that will continue to make Bob Dylan worth listening to, studying and debating for generations to come. 

On March 20, Michael Chaiken, curator of the new Bob Dylan Archive, will host a 50th anniversary viewing of “Don’t Look Back,” the classic D.A. Pennebaker film documenting Dylan’s April- May 1965 concert tour in the UK. The film is significant for capturing Dylan on the verge of his contentious break from the folk scene (his famous electric set at the Newport Folk festival July 25, 1965) and already performing deeply personal and poetically visionary non-traditional songs that expanded the expressive possibilities of rock music. Ironically, the film is also significant for framing, and “freezing,” that moment in time, inviting questions of how film itself shapes our understanding of history in modern times.


On March 21, Chaiken will be joined by professors Thomas Palaima and Thomas Staley, two prominent UT scholars who have made their mark by working with archives, for a panel on the challenges of archiving called “Looking Forward by Looking Back.” Caroline Frick, founder and executive director of the Texas Archive of the Moving Image, will join in subsequent Q&A.  Archives are paradoxical in the same way that Thucydides, the first scientific western historian, conceived of history. We preserve the past to help us make sense of the present and guide us into the future. Bob Dylan is the best documented poet-songster in the history of humankind. In an age when data seem to overwhelm us, how will the Bob Dylan archives meet the challenges of enabling his words and songs and their many meanings to sing out to future generations?

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