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Calling all Researchers, Academicians, and Practitioners
Greetings:  I am pleased to announce the production of an edited volume tentatively titled “How It Got Over:” The Proliferation of Gospel Music from the Dorsey Movement to the Modern Gospel Music Industry. The objective of this forthcoming book is to inspire high quality research providing meaningful insights into the gospel music industry, along with substantial historical content to facilitate dissemination of knowledge among academicians, researchers and practitioners in this particular area of the music industry. The book is scheduled to be released in July 2015. I look forward to a richness and originality of ideas in this edited volume. Contributions are encouraged from researchers across academic disciplines and institutions as well as the music industry as a whole, nationwide.
​In the 1920's, more secular forms of musical expression began expanding into American Christian ritual fueled by worshippers’ growing recognition of their desires to incorporate more cultural self-expression into their worship experience. No place is this moment better exemplified than in the urban African-American church of the time. Many of the large, more established black churches and denominations of the period modeled after white counterparts were conservative in their rituals and limited appropriate religious musical expression to hymns, spirituals and anthems. Yet in rural churches and the tent revival community where things were less formal, more uniquely cultural musical expressions were being incorporated into worship thereby challenging the established norms.
The most prolific pioneer in the emerging American music genre, Thomas A. Dorsey, is known as the Father of Gospel Music. Dorsey was instrumental in its refinement, organization, and presentation to the world, which facilitated its greater acceptance and ultimately worldwide recognition. Today the music industry is in an upheaval as the advent of new technologies is reshaping the record business, radio, music production, distribution, marketing and performance.
From the assembling of writings under this call for papers, we seek to develop an understanding of: (1) how the Dorsey gospel music movement became a vibrant and lucrative sector of the American music industry; (2) where the gospel music industry is today from a socio-economic perspective and how did it get here; and finally (3) how it will likely evolve based upon theories of economics and/or cultural/religious evolution.
Other suggested non-exhaustive relevant topics include but are not limited to:
§   Thomas A. Dorsey and the birth of the Gospel Music movement
§   The evolution of Gospel Music singularly from a religious expressive art form to a subset of the music industry
§   An analysis of today's Gospel Music as a segment of the music industry and its likely future trajectory
§   A retrospective of Thomas A. Dorsey and his influence upon today's Gospel Music industry
§   The proliferation of Gospel Music in the post-Dorsey era
For full consideration, please submit your abstract (250 words) to Dr. Alphonso Simpson, Jr. by November 4, 2014 at . Please indicate in the subject line "Dorsey Gospel" when e-mailing your abstract. Submissions should be formatted as Word or .pdf documents. Authors of selected proposals will be notified by December 4, 2014. Author(s) are expected to submit their manuscript for consideration to by April 4, 2015 formatted in Word. For more information, contact: Alphonso Simpson, Jr. Ph.D., Professor, Department of African American Studies, Western Illinois University, 1 University Circle - Morgan Hall 232, Macomb, IL 61455
Office: (309) 298-2360 or (309) 298-1181 | Email:



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