Africana Studies: The Sociology of Black Music in American Culture

Electable by: 
Required of: 
Semesters Offered: 
Fall, Spring
Boston Campus
Courses may not be offered at the listed location(s) each semester. Consult for specific term availability.

This survey course examines the culture of black American music (West African griot music, spirituals, blues, jazz, black symphonic and concert music, gospel, R&B, soul, free jazz, funk, and hip-hop) through an exploration of music, artistry, and the social dynamics of American society. This course provides a critical examination of the impact this music has had upon creativity in the modern world. It also develops a critical line of thinking, discussion, and debate about the implications, effects, and meanings of cultural expression and phenomena, and what the development of black music tells us about American society, socially, spiritually, politically, and culturally. An important aspect of this exploration is the consideration of the aesthetic and cultural dimensions of black life and culture, Western conceptions of art, and the social and political contexts that shape the music. Critical discussion will be a crucial part of the classroom experience. Students are expected to attend class sessions prepared to discuss at length and in depth the selected musical works, transcriptions, lyric/text analysis, daily reading assignments, and issues related to course materials.

Course chair: 
Simone Pilon