Call for Chapters for Edited Volume:
Viva Las Vegas: Music and Myth in America’s City of Second Chances

CFP deadline: January 1, 2021

Editor: Jake Johnson (Oklahoma City University)

Las Vegas has been an important commercial hub for live and recorded music for most of the twentieth century. It is also arguably the most American of America's cities--as art critic Dave Hickey put it, at least in Vegas “the payoffs are posted and the odds easily calculable.” Largely, however, the critical attention toward place and music industry has privileged other American commercial centers, namely Los Angeles and New York City. Despite Las Vegas’s rich musical entanglements, in fact, a full study of the musical and cultural values of the city has not yet emerged. Viva Las Vegas sets out to examine the sonic place-making and musical mythologies surrounding America’s City of Second Chances.

This book will investigate venues of fantasy and myth-making during this critical moment when broader mythos of America have become political and cultural lightning rods. Contributors to this volume will consider collectively the values and perspectives of music-making in, around, and through Las Vegas. This book places itself alongside vibrant studies of popular music and place, including Stacy Wolf’s study of amateur and community musical theater in America; Barry Shank’s investigation of various music “scenes” in Austin, Texas; Fred Bartenstein and Curtis W. Ellison’s illumination of bluegrass networks in southwestern Ohio; and my own work on religious communities in the middle of America employing popular music to slow the creep of modernity. It also joins robust scholarly intrigue in media studies, sound studies, queer studies, and critical geography, situated within and between a number of developing transdisciplinary spaces. Making a book (and making book) on Las Vegas seems a safe bet for a rapidly expanding American music studies: what happens in Vegas should no longer stay in Vegas.

Performers and scholars from all disciplines are invited to consider broadly the musical and sonic histories, intersections, and mythologies of Las Vegas both on and off the Strip. Contributions should ideally aim to engage undergraduate-level readers as well as craft important inroads in understanding mythology, music/sound, and place in Las Vegas. The University of Illinois Press has expressed strong interest in including this volume in its celebrated Music in American Life book series. 

AMS-Announce mailing list and bulletin board:

How to submit a post

Visit the AMS-Announce archive

TO UNSUBSCRIBE, switch to/from Digest mode, change your subscription address, etc.: log in and edit your subscription.

AMS-Announce is a free service provided to the musicological community by the American Musicological Society.