What has been the legacy of Bob Dylan on modern cultural life? How can research on Dylan be co-collaborative with the public toward meaningful ends? How can popular music institutes and centers model a new route for the humanities? How ought the humanities to engage and co-collaborate with the world outside of the academy? What is the relationship between public humanities work and the liberal arts?
We explore these questions and more with our guest Sean Latham, the Pauline McFarlin Walter Endowed Professor of English at the University of Tulsa, the director of the Oklahoma Center for the Humanities, the editor of the James Joyce Quarterly, and the director of the University of Tulsa Institute for Bob Dylan Studies. He works with a team at The University of Tulsa and the Tulsa-based George Kaiser Family Foundation to bring together the Bob Dylan Archive, the Institute for Bob Dylan Studies, and a new Bob Dylan Center in downtown Tulsa (scheduled to open May 10, 2022), as a new hub for publicly engaged humanistic research and scholarship. In particular, they aim to create in Tulsa a hub for popular music appreciation and reflection (including the Woody Guthrie Center, which is also in the city). He has written and edited numerous books on modern culture, and organized over 100 public humanities events including exhibitions, performances, conferences, and community-engaged research projects. He recently organized the edited collection The World of Bob Dylan (Cambridge UP, 2021) and has been working on a new book, Bob Dylan’s Odyssey: A Creative Biography.