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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Michelle Habell-Pallan
HUM 206
Seattle Campus

American Sabor/American Flavor: Latinos Shaping U.S. Popular Music

Addresses problems of cultural representation that concern an increasingly visible and influential community in the United States. Highlights the roles of U.S. Latino musicians as interpreters of Latin American genres and their roles as innovators within genres normally considered indigenous to the United States.

Class description

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Latino contributions to popular music in the United States have too often been relegated to the margins of a narrative dominated by African and European Americans—an overly black and white view of our musical history. Latin music is often portrayed as an exotic resource for “American” musicians, as suggested by pianist Jelly Roll Morton's reference to "the Latin Tinge." This course turns that phrase and that perspective on its head. "American Sabor" addresses problems of cultural representation that concern an increasingly visible and influential community in the U.S.

We will document the roles of U.S. Latino musicians as interpreters of Latin American genres. We will also highlight their roles as innovators within genres normally considered indigenous to the U.S., such as rock and roll, R & B, jazz, country/western, and hip hop. The course distinguishes regional centers of Latino population and music production—exploring unique histories, artists, and musical styles. At the same time it draws out broader patterns of boundary crossing, language, social struggle, generational difference, racial/ethnic/class/gender identification, and other factors that shape the experiences of U.S. Latinos everywhere.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Michelle Habell-Pallan
Date: 11/26/2007