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2013 Fall Term

3 Units [GH]

History 255

This course examines new historical themes each semester with an expert in the field. In a small seminar setting, classes will focus on discussion of a variety of different kinds of historical sources and provide the opportunity for students to carry out their research project on the topic.

Class Schedule


  • This schedule is informational and does not guarantee availability for registration.
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Section Details Meeting Details & Topic Instructor Syllabus
01-DIS 3087
3 Units [GH]
09/03 - 12/23 (1) TuTh 3:45 PM - 5:00 PM
James Levy
This course explores the intersection of race, music and cultural history in the United States from the late 19th through late 20th centuries. We will consider rock-n-roll not only as musical form, but also as cultural tradition and even attitude. Beginning with slave spirituals, early blues hollers, and work songs of the 19th century, we will continue by exploring Elvis and early rock in the late 1950s, the British 'invasion' of the 1960s, anthem rock, glam rock, and punk of the 1970s, and finally rock's influence on hip hop and gangsta rap in the 1980s and 1990s. Rock-n-roll will be studied as social and historical phenomenon ' a force that both shapes and was shaped by cultural, political and commercial factors. We will also examine how those factors were in turn shaped by race and ethnicity. Students will engage with a variety of sources including primary documents, scholarly articles, journalistic criticism and social observation. And, of course, they will be required to do lots of listening, grappling with how music itself can be understood as a historical source.

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