AMST 403 American Music

Last offered Spring 2014

One way to write the cultural history of music is to trace the authority with which different people can say "You are hurting my ears." So writes Carlo Rotella, one of the historians whose work we will read in this course as we approach American popular music as an object of cultural studies and the new, interdisciplinary field of sound studies. We will study particular performers and styles (e.g. Elvis, Billie Holiday, punk and hip hop) in the context of the histories of labor; social migration; political and economic shifts; racial ideologies; and the culture industry. Moving from the late-nineteenth-century to the present, and through agrarian to industrial to postindustrial social configurations, we will study music and extra-musical noise as a means of expressing resistance and accommodation, as the basis of community-formation and disruption. We will pay special attention to uses by American musicians and audiences of forms originating outside of American geopolitical borders in the context of global capitalism and American hegemony. Texts include works of history, cultural criticism, sound culture, and ethnomusicology; audio performance recorded in the field, in the studio, and in concert; and documentary and fiction films.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation will be based on a number of written assignments and a final projection (option: multimedia)
Additional Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis
Additional Info2:
Prerequisites: prior work in American Studies, including American Studies 301; not open to first year students
Enrollment Preference: senior American Studies majors
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Material and Lab Fees:
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Divisional Attributes: Division II
Other Attributes: AMST Arts in Context Electives,AMST 400-level Senior Seminars
Enrollment Limit: 14
Expected Enrollment: 14
Class Number: 3162
AMST 403 SEM American Music Division 2: Social Studies Cassandra J. Cleghorn
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