Joseph G Weis
Selected introductory topics of contemporary interest.
THE SOCIOLOGY OF ROCK AND ROLL (SOC 201) PROFESSOR JOE WEIS
This is a new course, which I am teaching for first time during spring quarter, 2013.
I started playing in a rock and roll band when I was 15 years old, and have continued to play, off and on, since the “golden era” of rock and roll until today. Rock music has been a central focus of my life, as a listener, musician, and student. Rock and roll, as other art forms, both reflects and influences culture and social life, particularly among youth. Some have argued that rock and roll and the youth culture ( subculture) emerged in tandem at the same time in social history. I will draw upon my own experience, reading, and the music itself to address and explicate a variety of topics and issues of sociological interest. The goal is to develop a sociological understanding of this very influential and popular musical art form, from its origins in the first half of the twentieth century to its more contemporary contexts. In doing so, the focus will be on the music and artists (and having fun), while examining the role of race relations, social class, gender, region, genre, commercial exploitation, etc. in the evolution of rock and roll.
We will listen to a lot of music in class, watch some selected videos, and I will lecture on different aspects of rock and roll. I hope to bring a few guest speakers to class, including a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a PNW rock icon, and a representative of the EMP (Experience Music Project).
Additionally, there is a terrific required textbook, ROCKIN’ IN TIME: A SOCIAL HISTORY OF ROCK AND ROLL (7th edition), by David Szatmary. The book has online student resources, some of which will be used in the course (for example, audio files of interviews with artists). We will read a number, but not all, chapters in the book.
Students are expected to do all of the reading and listening, and to participate in sections. Your grade will be based on two short, multiple choice exams, one short (3-5 pages) paper based on reading a biography/auto-biography of a rock and roll artist of your choice. Students will also be encouraged, for extra credit, to view a movie on rock and roll, and to go to a live performance. Students will also be given the opportunity to play and present music/artists of their choice to the class.
The course will be graded “on the curve,” but since it is a special topics course which should draw students who are really interested in rock and roll, I expect that students will do well and receive high grades. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Some Chapters and Topics in the Textbook:
The Blues, Rock and Roll and Racism Elvis and Rockabilly The Teen Market: American Bandstand Surfboards and Hot Rods: Surf Music Bob Dylan and the New Frontier Motown: The Sound of Racial Integration The British Invasion: The Beatles and the Rolling Stones Psychedelic/Acid Rock Punk Rock Generation X, Seattle Grunge Hip Hop
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading