Historian Steven Garabedian to deliver Peace Studies Lecture

On Friday, March 1, Dr. Steven Garabedian, Assistant Professor of History, will be giving the Seventh Annual Peace Studies Lecture at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Dr. Garabedian's talk is titled "'It Don't Make Sense (You Can't Make Peace)': Peace, Justice, and the Blues," and it represents one current in his larger scholarly and pedagogical focus on twentieth-century American popular music, scholarship, and cultural politics. Though it is rarely highlighted, African American blues tradition has always included a vital political vernacular commenting on more than just broken hearts and bad romance; in the Cold War 1950s and 1960s, blues artists questioned the rights and wrongs of nuclear diplomacy and the wars in Korea and Vietnam. Dr. Garabedian relates the songs and stories of several striking exponents of blues protest as well as the scholars and critics who promoted them. Ultimately, these voices of peace were marginalized, however, in a rising popular blues consensus that stressed romantic over social travail as the essence of the musical form. Today, the connection between blues and peace just “don’t make sense” to many musicians and fans.

Dr. Garabedian will be on campus in California as the guest of the Peace Studies program under director Daniel Smith-Christopher. Last spring, Dr. Smith-Christopher was a guest here at Marist College. An Old Testament theologian who has only recently turned his attention to music, Dr. Smith-Christopher has opened a fruitful interdisciplinary collaboration with Dr. Garabedian on “The Bible and the Blues.”

Dr. Garabedian has been in the History Department at Marist College for six years. He is an avid hobby guitarist who sees music as a rich index to history. He teaches “Blues Music and Blues Poetry” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll as U.S. History.” He has rhythm but cannot dance.