Instructor: Alex W. Corey
Meeting time: Thursday, 3-5
This class examines the relationship between popular music, American literature, and the power structures that organize life in the United States. We will study the ways that music constructs social identities by considering how popular music—in performance, on record, and in written representation—can both reinforce and challenge hierarchies of gender, race, region, sexuality, class, and citizenship. Listening to recording artists such as Johnny Cash, Frank Ocean, Beyoncé, and Kendrick Lamar, we will learn how music plays a critical role in producing the social distinctions that popular culture is often presumed simply to reflect. Moreover, our study of literature by Alice Walker, Mary Gaitskill, Essex Hemphill, and others will show how the literary representation of sound can both articulate the pleasures and resist the injustices of an often-inadequate present moment.