Join us for the “Springsteen as History” Project, a conversation with Robert Santelli, noted music historian and founding executive director of the GRAMMY Museum, moderated by Marilisa Merolla, visiting Professor at The New School and Associate Professor of Contemporary History at the Sapienza Università di Roma.
The “Springsteen as History” Teaching and Research Project, created by Marilisa Merolla, historically investigates the role played by Bruce Springsteen as a complex contemporary American "sound ambassador" –of course a "Born in the USA" Ambassador– in the current international political and social landscape. Recently historians have been challenged to use sound as a historical source, particularly in studying public diplomacy. New research emphasizes how the diplomatic and military use of blues, jazz, soul and rock’n’ roll became a strategic instrument of US public diplomacy in the political context of the Cold War. A double-edged weapon that also spread the “dark side” of the American way of life expressed by the explosion of rock ‘n’ roll music.
Marilisa Merolla is a visiting Professor at The New School and Associate Professor of Contemporary History at Sapienza Università di Roma. She is the founder and the director of the “Music Making History Research Unit Sapienza University” (https://web.uniroma1.it/disse/node/7232). She created the Pop Power Revolution Project inspired by the GRAMMY Museum’s Music Revolution Project and exclusively reserved to the GRAMMY Museum Universities and Cultural Affiliates (https://grammymuseum.org/national-reach/affiliates/university-affiliates). The PPRP promotes international academic and cultural exchanges among the GRAMMY Museum Affiliates’ students and researchers, encouraging their ability to create innovative transnational research projects concerning music history as well as the music impact on Contemporary history.
Robert Santelli, a noted music historian, is the author of more than a dozen books on American music. In 1993, Santelli was one of the original curators of the then nascent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum to become the museum's first director of education and vice president of public programs. In 2000, he became the CEO of Paul Allen's Experience Music Project in Seattle, the first ever interactive music museum. In 2006, he was named executive director of The GRAMMY Museum in 2006. Santelli also developed the UK's first pop music museum, the British Music Experience, which opened at London's O2 Center in 2009. He is on the creative team for the annual GRAMMY® Awards Show, and has served as head curator for many of the museum's most popular exhibits. During the Obama presidency, Santelli has produced eight educational programs with The First Lady, Michelle Obama, at the White House, most notably "Music That Inspired The Movement," a program about how music influenced the Civil Rights Movement.
In 2017, Robert Santelli announced the foundation of The Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music at Monmouth University. In 2020, Santelli won the GRAMMY AWARD in the category of BEST HISTORICAL ALBUM with the “Pete Seeger The Smithsonian Folkways Collection.