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the Cultural History of Rock and Roll


Teaches students to read about, write about, and discuss the social history of that very broad term, "rock and roll". We explore important themes in American (and British) social and cultural history through the study of popular music, as well as to examine how popular and critical tastes are reflections of artistic, cultural, sexual, economic and ideological sensibilities at the time of its production. In order to fully understand what the culture of "rock" is all about, we critically analyze the influence of technology, ideology, class, gender, and race on various genres of music, jazz, country, rhythm and blues, techno, heavy metal, and hip hop. We also examine how rock and roll influenced (and is influenced by) other arts, particularly literature and film. Emphasis is placed on understanding the social and cultural contexts of the various music forms rather than on a rigorous understanding of the musical forms themselves. Note: This course was previously listed as HUM 220.