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Loren Glass

Loren Glass is Professor of English and the Center for the Book at the University of Iowa. His first book, Authors Inc.: Literary Celebrity in the Modern United States, was published by New York University Press in 2004. His history of Grove Press, Counterculture Colophon: Grove Press, the Evergreen Review, and the Incorporation of the Avant-Garde, was published by Stanford University Press as part of their Post*45 series in 2013.  

“I Am Woman: Second-Wave Feminism and the Album Era”
In this presentation I will argue that the cultural politics of second-wave feminism were crucially buttressed by the specific format of the vinyl LP. It is of course well-known that landmark albums such as Carole King’s Tapestry, Joni Mitchell’s Blue, and Helen Reddy’s I Am Woman were both expressions of and enabled by the Women’s Liberation Movement, but in this presentation I will attend more specifically the design and format of the long-playing record as foregrounding the autonomy and agency of the adult female voice across both racial identities and musical genres. From Aretha Franklin to Loretta Lynn to Janis Joplin, female musicians of this era began to determine the design, composition, and arrangement of a series of landmark LP’s which can be seen as documenting and declaring the passage from an adolescent object-hood associated with girl groups and 45rpm singles in the early ‘60s to an adult agency associated with womanhood and the 33rpm long-playing record. Starting in the late sixties with breakthrough albums such as Aretha Frankin’s I Never Loved a Man the Way I Loved You and Loretta Lynn’s You Ain’t Woman Enough to Take My Man and moving into the early ‘70s with Carole King’s Tapestry, Joni Mitchell’s Blue, Roberta Flack’s Quiet Fire, and Helen Reddy’s I Am Woman, I will analyze how a combination of cover design, musical arrangement, and lyrical composition constructed the adult female voice as an agent of political and cultural change.


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