FLAGS AND ANTHEMS
Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018, 11:30 a.m. –1 p.m.
Football Meeting Room, McGugin Center
“At the Olympics the raising of voice in the singing of the national anthem and arms in the hoisting of the national flag provides unique opportunity to perform patriotism and to perform protest. Starting with a focus on the 1968 Olympics and Tommie Smith’s striking performance of patriotism and protest involving the American anthem and the American flag we will move backwards to a consideration of Jesse Owens’s 1936 podium moments as performance of patriotism and citizenship, then into a brief exploration of national anthems and flags at the Olympics.
Do national anthems and national flags symbols in sound and fabric, threaten to destroy the Olympic spirit? Or do they create opportunities to celebrate individual countries as an aspect of celebrating a sense of global citizenry united by an Olympic ideal? Are they extraordinary opportunities to confront nations with the reality of how far the fall from their ideals?
Nashville is a songwriting town, but it’s not just any old songwriting town. It’s a town that likes to celebrate songs created by three chords and the truth. What “truth” does a close look at the song lyrics of our own national anthem, the star spangled banner, and anthems that have been played at Olympic medal ceremonies tell us about our understanding of nations? Of global citizenry?
What two things do Avery Brundage and Alice Randall have in common? In what way is Colin Kaepernick the heir to Olympian Tommie Smith? Which national anthems share a melody? A composer? Which national anthem was written by its first President? What is the Olympic Anthem?”
Join Nashville songwriter and Vanderbilt professor Alice Randall to explore sounds that eclipse sinew—the roar of the anthem the snap of the flag.