Focuses on cultural expressions created by people of African descent in the Unites States in the twentieth century, with an emphasis on music, folklore, dance, and humor. Offered: WSp
This interdisciplinary course will examine the ways in which scholars have analyzed music movements created by or involving people of African descent in the United States and in the twentieth century. From weekly readings, films, and listening assignments we will explore how music movements such as jazz, blues, bebop, rhythm & blues, soul, rock, and hip hop construct, maintain, challenge, and transform "Black" identity. We will also explore how these movements become sites for collaboration and conflict with other racial, class, gender, and sexual identities; and how they bring about dialogue for social equality.
Student learning goals
Understand how music and performance construct, maintain, challenge, and transform Black identity, and more broadly, "American" identity and culture throughout the twentieth century.
Learn how Black identity and culture have been shaped by various exchanges with diverse racial and ethnic groups.
Understand various theoretical frameworks from sociology, cultural studies, anthropology, law, gender studies, and ethnomusicology, and learn to use them in interpreting how race, class, and gender inform music production and audience response.
Strengthen analytical skills by learning to clearly articulate your thoughts during discussion and writing weekly response papers and other assignments.
Learn how to identify musical styles and understand their historical-social-spatial context.
General method of instruction
We will meet twice a week to unpack and discuss the theories, analyses, criticisms, and strategies from the required readings and films, and listen to a lot of the music associated with our discussions. Lectures and the course textbook will provide historical context. You are responsible for completing the assigned reading and preparation for discussion before the scheduled meeting times. Each week you will write a two-page response paper on the assigned reading.
Class assignments and grading
Required Texts: 1. Mellonee Burnim & Portia Maultsby. African American Music: An Introduction. New York: Routledge, 2006. 2. Various articles will be assigned on a weekly basis and provided on course website.