The University of Amsterdam, Faculty American Studies, presents a bachelor course this fall on "Elvis Presley: from King to Contemporary Saint", starting September 10, 2010.
1) Introducing students to Elvis Presley as an icon of American culture
2) Focusing on the religious or spiritual meaning of American icons as Elvis in the US and in the Netherlands
In the course we will analyze the life of Elvis Presley (1935-1977) and his posthumous career. The rise of Elvis in the mid-fifties marked the start of pop music and youth culture in the United States and abroad. "Before Elvis, there was nothing" said John Lennon. Although Elvis was considered a threat to the moral and religious establishment when he started, he was quite religious himself. Elvis was the first of many idols to come. After his untimely death his musical inheritance and his mansion Graceland gained a sacred status. What is the religious or spiritual meaning of Elvis as a cultural phenomenon anno 2010 in the United States, Europe and especially the Netherlands?
Professor Ruud Janssens of American Studies has asked Fred Omvlee, chaplain and aspiring to obtain a PhD on the religious meaning of the cultural phenomenon Elvis Presley, to present this course. Literature that will be used in this course is:
Erika A. Doss, "Rock and Roll Pilgrims: Reflections on Ritual, Religiosity, and Race at Graceland" in Peter Jan Margry, Shrines and Pilgrimage in the Modern World (Amsterdam University Press 2008)
Erika A. Doss, Elvis Culture, Fans, Faith and Image, (University Press of Kansas 1999)
Peter Guralnick. Last Train to Memphis. The Rise of Elvis Presley. (London, Abacus, 1994-2003)
Peter Guralnick. Careless Love. The Unmaking of Elvis Presley. (Little, Brown and Company, 1999)
Kees 't Hart & John Schoorl, Wees niet wreed. Gedichten voor Elvis Presley, (Amsterdam, Nijgh & Van Ditmar 2008) (Dutch)
Greil Marcus,"Elvis: Presliad" in Mystery Train. Images of America in Rock 'n' Roll Music, (London, Faber and Faber, 5th edition 2000)
Gregory L. Reece, Elvis Religion, The cult of the King, ( London and New York, I.B. Tauris 2006)
Gilbert B. Rodman, Elvis after Elvis, the posthumous career of a living legend, (London and New York, Routledge 1996)
Rob van Scheers, Elvis in Nederland, (Meulenhoff 2010 or earlier editions) (Dutch)