Course Description

We walk the earth with a modern Shakespeare! Since the start of his professional career in 1961 in Greenwich Village, during what musician Dave van Ronk called “the great folk scare”, Bob Dylan has written over 500 songs and has gone through so many phases and transitions that seven different actors played him in the movie “I’m Not There” (2007). Mr. Dylan has released 37 studio albums, 14 albums in the bootleg series, and 11 live albums, poems, several books, and is still touring all over the world. Besides Grammys, Golden Globe, and an Oscar he has received honorary degrees, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Pulitzer Prize, Polar Music Prize, Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and most recently, the Nobel Prize in literature.   

We celebrate the creative talent and musical artistry of Bob Dylan, through songs (and singing along!), combined with brief academic notes, from all phases: folk, protest, introspection, rock and roll, country, mid-life changes, Christian, post-Christian, and ongoing search for wisdom and meaning. Participants will be provided with suggested readings in advance of the class.

The Bob Dylan Regulars, a collection of musicians led by Peter White (Professor Emeritus, UNC Biology) will perform songs that represent all the phases and transitions of his music--though Mr. Dylan himself will appear in spirit only – his first post-pandemic performance was a July, streaming event called Shadow Kingdom. 

Course Outline

About the Instructor:

Peter White is an ecologist and a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Biology at UNC. He has been known to quote Bob Dylan in his lectures and posts Dylan quotes for studying, exams, and graduation on his class website. He plays music with friends in the Triangle Folk Jam on Monday nights.



Cancellation must be received in writing at least one week before the start of classes. You will be issued a refund, less a $10 administrative fee. Please contact Derek Just, Registration Manager, at 919.445.0478 or derekj@email.unc.edu.

Alternatively, participant substitutions are welcome. If you cannot attend an event, you can contact us with the name of the individual who will take your place.

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