Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy





Committee Chair

Kenneth Kreitner

Committee Member

Janet Page

Committee Member

David Evans

Committee Member

Timothy Goodwin


On September 11, 2001, members of Congress, standing in front of the Capitol building, spontaneously broke out into a heartfelt version of "God Bless America." From that day on, music played an important role in society as related to 9/11 and the subsequent War on Terror. It is my intention to provide an extended deliberation on the conspicous and varied popular music of this era. By studying post-9/11 musicians and musical expression during the George W. Bush administration, we can develop an understanding of the culture within which they emerged and place this understanding within a broader historical context. I have looked at two main questions in relation to this music: How did popular music in the post-9/11 era shape the social climate within which it existed, and how was post-9/11 popular music shaped by the social climate? This dissertation assesses the main themes found in popular music related to the War on Terror during Bush's presidency. Using musical and textual analysis, I discuss how these themes were framed in the music itself. Through analysis of historical documents, I also demonstrate how these musical reactions either resonated or clashed with the cultural climate of the audience and the nation. I demonstrate that the popular music of this era closely reflected the range of societal responses to 9/11, the war, the president, and the state of American society and thereby provides a window into the overall cultural climate of this tumultuous time. I also show that while popular music itself was heavily influenced by the political climate, it conversely affected little to no change on socio-political activies. I provide some possible explanations for this as contrasted with the Vietnam Era.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.