Jul 10, 2020  
2019-2020 College of Liberal Arts 
    
2019-2020 College of Liberal Arts
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HIST 216 - The History of Rock and Roll

4 credits
This course will survey the origin and development of rock and roll music in the United States.  Beginning around the early 20th century, it will explore the cultural, social, political history, manifest in early popular music, from Joe Hill’s songs on behalf of the labor struggles of Gilded Age America, and “Leadbelly’s” twelve-string virtuosity and song writing cataloging the struggles of African Americans in the Jim Crow south, to Woody Guthrie’s twangy rendering of the Depression era “dust bowl” and “Pretty Boy Floyd.” Indeed, American popular music is both born of and embodied within the complicated fabric of American social, political, and cultural life.  From these origins, the course will trace the advent of early rock and roll following World War II.  Rock and Roll combined the various popular musical traditions and forms, most famously with the rise to stardom of Elvis Presley, to offer something both new and old for a rapidly expanding and changing audience.  In the decades that followed, Rock and Roll expanded dramatically in form and influence to cut across lines of race, class, and gender (blues, folk, R&B, punk, etc.) to both fascinate and bedevil critics, political leaders, and mothers and fathers everywhere.  The course will examine these developments and the various ways Rock and Roll continued to be both a reflection of and affected by late 20th century U.S. history. CLA-Breadth/Humanities



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