Clayton State University Director of Music Management Studies and Assistant Professor of Music Dr. Shawn Young was recently awarded the Gene Hatfield Scholar of the Year Award for the 2012/2013 academic year.
The Arts & Sciences Scholar of the Year award is made possible by, and is named after, Dr. Eugene Hatfield, long-time (1976–2008) history professor at Clayton State. Preceding Young as recipients of the Hatfield award are Dr. Brigitte Byrd (2009), Dr. E. Joe Johnson (2010), Dr. Jonathan Lyon (2011) and Dr. Alexander Hall (2012).
“Since I arrived (at Clayton State) in 2011, I’ve met so many wonderful faculty members, many of whom have been instrumental in helping my transition to the university culture. I am honored and humbled to accept this award,” says Young. “I must admit, when my name was called I was truly shocked. In fact, I wondered if I heard correctly! We have so many professional people at Clayton State, and they all work very hard.
“My colleagues always inspire me, and I sincerely appreciate Clayton State’s expectation for faculty to find an equitable balance between teaching and research. I’m also grateful for an institution that provides faculty with travel funding, and I truly appreciate my colleagues who took the time to read my manuscripts.”
Young is a scholar of American Studies who says he is fascinated by how social movements and music evolve in response to pluralism, and whose current research explores this intersection. He particularly focuses on popular religious music.
“I consider historical, philosophical, and theoretical foundations that pertain to how communities change as a result of popular representations, particularly music, and how these representations affect public space locally and globally,” he explains. “This sheds light on fundamental cultural developments related to pluralism, interreligious dialogue, and the Nashville-based Christian music industry.”
On the subject of religious pop music, Young notes that the classical signifiers associated with such music are, “being expunged as the process of categorization is reexamined in light of an ineffective understanding of theological dualism. If we develop a better understanding of these cultural shifts it may become possible to identify how the combination of religious belief and cultural production contributes to the so-called culture war.”
Young says he also has considered how consumers of this music negotiate “political identity” under the gaze of Big Religion, Big Business, and Big Government.
“The landscape is shifting indeed, and many of our students interested in popular religious music may find value in this topic,” he adds. “I truly hope my research will contribute to a larger conversation at Clayton State University.”
Young holds a B.S. in Music Industry Studies from Appalachian State University (1996); an M.A. in American Culture Studies from Washington University, St. Louis (2004); and a Ph.D. in American Studies from Michigan State University (2011). After performing with the U.S. Army Band for five years he went on to earn his degrees in Music Industry Studies and American Studies. Young has performed jazz, classical, Celtic, and rock music for more than 20 years on the electric bass guitar and trumpet.
Before entering academia, Young served as Regional Learning Center Director for MARS Music, Inc., and field A&R representative for the company's record label. Young has published research on rock music history, the counterculture of the 1960s, communal living, music festivals, the politics of popular music, and Christian rock. He specializes in American popular music and religion, concert promotions, artist development, and critical cultural theory. Young is currently the coordinator for the forum on Research for the Music & Entertainment Industry Educators Association. He currently has a manuscript under review with Columbia University Press.