Humanities Institute Sponsors Events Examining The Grateful Dead

October 18, 2019

By Samantha Jette '20

The Gregory J. Grappone Humanities Institute will sponsor “A Long Strange Trip: The Culture of the Grateful Dead,” a week-long series of discussions on the cultural impact of the band from Tuesday, Oct. 22 to Friday, Oct. 25.

The week will include panels hosted by professors, a jam session, and a lecture with the filmmaker of the four-part documentary, Long Strange Trip, Thomas Mangan. The series will focus on the iconic band’s history, its impact on popular culture and drug culture in the United States, and its timeless music and lyrics.

“People who are fans of the Dead, who have followed the band’s concerts and song writing over the years, will be interested in this week of discussion about the band’s language and music within the cultural context of those decades,” says Executive Director of the Humanities Institute and English Professor Gary Bouchard.

The week-long examination will kick-off on Tuesday, Oct. 22 at 2:30 p.m. with a panel on the music of The Grateful Dead led by Professors Ann Holbrook of the English Department and Sean Parr of the Fine Arts Department, as well as Bellar McKenna of the University of New Hampshire.

The keynote lecture with filmmaker and executive producer Thomas Mangan will take place on Thursday at 7 p.m., in the Melucci Theater of the Jean Student Center Complex. Mangan will speak about his four-part documentary. Participants are encouraged to view the film before attending the lecture. The film is available on Amazon Prime, as well as at the college’s Geisel Library.

Other panels include history professors Andrew Moore and Matthew Masur discussing the history, politics and culture of the band. Professor Dan Lavoie of the Biology Department and Professor Joseph Troisi of the Psychology Department will discuss drug culture in relation to The Grateful Dead. A panel on the Lyrics of The Grateful Dead will include Professors Meg Cronin and Georgia Henley of the English Department.

Of the documentary, Bouchard says, “I think Tom can take us behind the scenes to help us appreciate how to tell the story of The Grateful Dead in a comprehensive, honest, and responsible way … We look forward to his stories as well as the insights and perspective he gained while working on the film.”

The week’s events will conclude Friday evening with an Open Mic Musical Jam, during which food and beverages will be served.

When Professor Jay Pitocchelli approached Bouchard about featuring the 2017 Grateful Dead documentary created by Mangan, his cousin, Bouchard said he knew it would be “much bigger than just a Come Friday Forum, and that we could make it the central programming for the fall semester. One thing led to another.” In the coming weeks, with the help of faculty and the Humanities Institute, the event came to life.

“Now here we are, ready to roll out a week of engaging programming about the music and culture of the iconic band, and consider the historical context in which they came to be,” said Bouchard.

The examination, like all Grappone Humanities Institute events, will be free and open to the public. Faculty, staff, students, alumni, and local community members are encouraged to attend.  


Tues. Oct. 22
2:30 p.m., 2nd Floor, Jean Student Center Complex
Panel on the Music of the Grateful Dead, led by Professors Ann Holbrook (English) and Sean Parr (Fine Arts) and Beller McKenna (UNH)

4 p.m., 2nd Floor, Jean Student Center Complex
Panel on the History, Politics, and Culture of The Grateful Dead Era, led by Professors Andrew Moore (History) and Matt Masur (History)

Wed. Oct. 23
2:30 p.m., 2nd Floor, Jean Student Center Complex
Panel on The Grateful Dead and the Drug Culture, led by Professors Dan Lavoie (Biology) and Joe Troisi (Psychology)
Panel on the Lyrics of The Grateful Dead, led by Professors Meg Cronin (English) and Georgia Henley (English)

Thurs. Oct 24
7 p.m., Melucci Theater, Jean Student Center Complex
Keynote Lecture by Thomas Mangan, Film Maker and Executive-Producer of the new four-part documentary on the Grateful Dead entitled Long Strange Trip

Fri. Oct. 25
4 - 9 p.m., Lobby, Jean Student Center Complex
Open Mic Musical Jam with food and beverages.


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