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Race, Place and Popular Music in the United States, 1865-2006
AMST 330
Spring 2007
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: HIST 329, MUSC 297

By definition, we find popular music everywhere - it infiltrates our psyche, triggering memories and expectations, generating moods and anxieties, even predicting when "a change is gonna come." It can serve as a means of self-identification, pleasure, and style for some as well as frighten and alienate others. Music has also functioned as an immensely profitable component of the popular culture apparatus in the last century; it generated windfall profits for a few record labels and corporations while it carved up genres, sanitized the singers it supported, and excluded the voices of the rest. Finally, popular music is "meant" to be ephemeral, designed for the moment, and easily disposable (err, replaceable) once consumed. In this class, through the lenses of cultural historians, we will examine the racial, cultural, regional, gender, and social politics of several American popular musics. In those terms, how do we glean historical significance in the practice of music, and how did people make meaning of it in the past? How does race and place affect the crafting and the meaning of music in the United States, and how in turn are conceptions of race and place altered by music? Delving into the fascinating history of American popular music, we will critically examine the historical significance of music among and within several specific individuals, communities, and locations - from hillbilly bands in Detroit to African American-owned labels in the peak of Jim Crow to American Indian country and opera singers on the rez to blackface minstrels in the nation's capital.

Essential Capabilities: Writing
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS AMST
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None
Past Enrollment Probability: Not Available

Last Updated on JUN-20-2024
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