Springsteen and the E Street Band, 1977 (Wikipedia)
Monmouth University in Freehold, New Jersey is the home of the Bruce Springsteen Archives. It thus makes sense that the university is offering a course on the life and music of The Boss. In the Spring 2020 semester history professor Kenneth Campbell will offer “Bruce Springsteen’s America: Land of Hope and Dreams” (HS-398-01). Here is a taste of Mark Marrone’s article at the Monmouth University student newspaper:
As universities across New Jersey offered classes on Springsteen, Eileen Chapman, Director of The Bruce Springsteen Archives, felt that we were long overdue for a course on The Boss.
“Over the past eight years many professors who teach Springsteen courses have visited the archives to conduct research and prepare course materials. They have come from various colleges and universities throughout New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania but also from Rome, Italy and Canada,” said Chapman.
Chapman brought this up to Campbell, which left him, “dismayed to hear that,” said Campbell. “I have been a huge fan of Bruce for many years and given our location and his generosity in donating his archive to us, I certainly think he (and our students) deserve a course dedicated to his musical legacy.”
Luckily, Chapman mentioned the idea to the right person who could ‘Prove It All Night.’ “Having taught courses on the Beatles for the past ten years, people had frequently asked me why I didn’t teach a course on Bruce Springsteen. I finally decided I needed to do it, if no one else on the faculty is interested,” said Campbell.
Campbell has been a fan of Springsteen’s work throughout most of his life and he wants to share this appreciation to students in the course.
He stated, “[Springsteen’s] music has accompanied me on my life journey for the past 45 years and been a constant through all the growth and experiences of my life.”
Campbell continued, “It has influenced me, informed me, taught me, made me think, and inspired me. I am sure I am not alone in this feeling and think it must be very rare for an artist to have that kind of effect on people’s lives over such a long period of time.”
Campbell intends to teach the course through a historical lens. “I decided to develop a history course because of how much Bruce’s lyrics focus on the history of the United States and how much his life reflects and relates to the past 70 years of that history,” he said.
The course will focus on a wide range of historical events and will feature materials you can buy at your local record store.
“In my syllabus, I intertwine units on past history and topics such as the Great Depression or the American West with units on recent history related to Bruce’s life and music. I have built the course around Bruce’s own songs and writings, including his autobiography, Born to Run, and books about Bruce and his connections to the American tradition,” Campbell stated.
Read the entire piece here.