Kirsty Fairclough's research pages

Prince and Popular Music: Critical Perspectives on an Interdisciplinary Life

After three years of development, I am absolutely delighted to announce the publication of Prince and Popular Music. The book emerged from the world’s first conference on the life and legacy of Prince which myself and Professor Mike Alleyne organised at the University of Salford.

In this text, we provide an academic examination of Prince, encompassing the many layers of his cultural and creative impact. We assess Prince’s life and legacy holistically, exploring his multiple identities and the ways in which they were manifested through his recorded catalogue and audiovisual personae. In the seventeen essays organised thematically, we include a diverse range of contributions – taking ethnographic, musicological, sociological, gender studies and cultural studies approaches to analysing Prince’s career.

Table of contents:

Part One Sound and Vision

  1. Baby, I’m a Star: Prince’s Purple Rain
    Jason Wood, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK
  2. Under the Cherry Moon: Prince as His Most Authentic Self
    De Angela L. Duff, New York University, USA
  3. Before the Rain, 1980-1984: How Prince Got ‘The Look’
    Casci Ritchie, Independent Scholar, UK
  4. Prettyman in the Mirror: Dandyism in Prince’s Minneapolis
    Karen Turman, Harvard University, USA
  5. The Sound of Purple: Prince and the Development of Minneapolis Sound
    Maciej Smólka, Jagiellonian University, Poland
    Part Two Purple Performance and Presence
  6. Glam Slammed: Visual Identity in Prince’s Lovesexy
    Mike Alleyne, Middle Tennessee State University, USA, and Kirsty Fairclough, University of Salford, UK
  7. For You: The Neglected Guitar Style of Prince
    Michael Ugrich, University of South Dakota, USA
  8. To Make Purple, You Need Blue: Prince as Embodiment of the Postmodern Blues Aesthetic
    Tom Attah, Leeds Arts University, UK
  9. ‘Tears Go Here’: Commemorating the Minneapolis Prince and the International Prince
    Suzanne Wint, Independent Scholar, USA
    Part Three Gender
  10. Re-Imagining Masculinity: Prince’s Impact on Millennial Attitudes Regarding Gender Expression
    Natalie Clifford, Independent Scholar, USA
  11. ‘We Can’t Hate You, Because We Love You’: A Look at Prince, Queerness, Misogyny and Feminism
    Leah Stone McDaniel, Independent Scholar, USA, and Shannan Wilson, Virginia Union University, USA
  12. “Flying Aboard the Seduction 747”: Prince, Humour and Horizontal Erotics
    Annie Potts, University of Canterbury, New Zealand
  13. When Were You Mine?: Prince’s Legacy in the Context of Transgender History
    Joy Ellison, Ohio State University, USA
    Part Four Politics and Race
  14. Prince: Introduction of a New Breed Leader
    Kamilah Cummings, DePaul University, USA
  15. ‘Microchip in Your Neck’: Prince’s ‘War’
    Zack Stiegler, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, USA
  16. Prince: Conscious and Strategic Representations of Race
    Twila L. Perry, Rutgers University School of Law, USA
  17. It’s All About What’s in Your Mind: The Origins of Prince’s Political Consciousness
    Crystal N. Wise, University of Michigan, USA

Thank you to all of our wonderful contributors for your work in keeping Prince’s legacy alive and introducing him to a new generation.

We are grateful to have have had some wonderful reviews for the book so far.

“Prince and Popular Music interrogates how each changed the other, offering a spectrum of approaches to an iconographic and enigmatic presence who graced any number of vibrant culture scenes with 40 years of innovation and invention. The contributors to this book got the music, and they got the look.” – Benjamin Halligan, Director of the Doctoral College, University of Wolverhampton, UK

“In a detailed examination of one of the most important and eclectic popular artists of all time, Alleyne and Fairclough curate a wide range of perspectives which detail music, aesthetics, representation and politics. This impressively comprehensive study is essential to any study of Prince but is also an important contribution to musicology, celebrity studies, American studies, issues of identity, gender, race and more. The significance of Prince is reflected in the significance of this book.” – Robert Edgar, Associate Professor of Creative Writing, York St John University, UK, and co-editor of Music, Memory and Memoir (Bloomsbury, 2019)

“This collection from the first-ever Prince symposium offers a compelling look into a wealth of interdisciplinary research inspired by and devoted to a pop artist of rare depth and complexity. The diversity of scholarship herein is a fitting tribute to Prince’s opulent creativity and unbound persona.” – Albin Zak, Professor of Music, University at Albany, USA

More information can be found here:


By kirstyfairclough

Kirsty Fairclough is Reader in Screen Studies at the School of Digital Arts, Manchester Metropolitan University and Chair of Manchester Jazz Festival.

She has published widely on popular culture and am the co-editor of The Music Documentary: Acid Rock to Electropop (Routledge), The Arena Concert: Music, Media and Mass Entertainment (Bloomsbury) and Music/Video: Forms, Aesthetics, Media. New York, (Bloomsbury) and author of the forthcoming Beyoncé: Celebrity Feminism and Popular Culture (I.B Tauris) and co-author of American Cinema: A Contemporary Introduction (Palgrave).

Her work has been published in Senses of Cinema, Feminist Media Studies, SERIES and Celebrity Studies journals and she has made several television and radio appearances.

Kirsty has lectured internationally on popular culture, feminism and representations of women most notably at The Royal College of Music, Stockholm, The University of Copenhagen, Second City, Chicago, Columbia College Chicago, Middle Tennessee State University, Unisinos Brazil and Bucknell University, Pennsylvania.

She has significant experience in international partnership development, particularly in North America and developed the Salford Popular Culture Conference series with international partner universities, including I’ll See You Again in 25 Years, Twin Peaks and Generations of Cult Television: A Two Day International Conference (University of Salford, May 2015) and Mad Men: The Conference (Middle Tennessee State University, May 2016) and Purple Reign: An interdisciplinary conference on the life and legacy of Prince, a three day international academic conference hosted by the School of Arts and Media, University of Salford, UK and the Department of Recording Industry, Middle Tennessee State University, USA.

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