Journalism faculty, alumna to present research at national conference

Apr 10, 2012 | General News, Liberal Arts

Dr. Beth Barfoot Christian, an assistant professor of journalism, and Ashley Dison, a 2011 Tech graduate in journalism, will present research at the 2012 Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference to be held in Boston April 11-14.
Christian and Dison will present “Rhythms of Mercy, Rhymes for Revenge: Marking Time in Angola from Leadbelly to Lil’ Boosie” as part of the panel “Spirituality, Spirits, Literature and Music.”
“Many people do not realize the creative geniuses who have been in Angola,” Christian said. “Movies have glorified some music legends who served time and went on to illustrious careers—albeit troubled lives—like Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis.  But less has been written specifically about musicians who have spent time at Angola.”
Christian said this research examines the changes that have come about musically—both style and substance—as well as culturally since 1900 and how that has been reflected in the music of the men who have served time at Louisiana State Penitentiary.
“Much of the message in the older music both in the rhythm and blues and in country music is one of responsibility and asking for mercy,” Christian said.  “More modern rap lyrics come with a message of revenge or returning evil for evil.”
Christian will teach an online course this summer on music in media and culture.  She is the editor of Rock Brands: Selling Sound in a Media Saturated Culture, published in 2011 by Lexington Books.
Dison is a freelance journalist who currently contributes to the Farmerville Gazette, a weekly newspaper in North Louisiana. She enjoys researching issues of social importance, mainly prison culture.