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MUSIC (L27)  (Dept. Info)Arts & Sciences  (Policies)SP2017

L27 Music 225Topics in American Culture Studies: What is Cool? Exploring and American Culture Form3.0 Units
Description:Defining the concept of "cool" provides a series of challenges to scholars. Simply charting a history of "cool" as a cultural form is an activity that threatens to collapse multiple complex meanings into a single, and ultimately inauthentic, definition. For instance, though most historians agree that "cool" has its origins in West Africa and was used by African American slaves as a strategic defense (first against the violence of slavery and later against the violence of segregation and discrimination), following World War II, white Americans began producing sounds, films, and cultural objects that other white critics described as "cool." Despite this ostensible shift in the racialized meanings of "cool," "cool" remains one important method (among others) of understanding African American responses to violence against their bodies. This course will serve as an introduction to the study of twentieth century American popular culture through the concept of "cool." Throughout the twentieth century, critics of music, film, visual arts, fashion, commerce, and race have used the term "cool" to describe particular sounds, images, behaviors, objects, and people. This course focuses on "cool" as a cultural form that can be investigated in order to better understand issues of race in particular. People and objects of focus include writers Frantz Fanon, James Baldwin, Amiri Baraka, and Ralph Ellison, jazz musicians Louis Armstrong, Lester Young, Dave Brubeck, Gerry Mulligan, Lee Konitz, and Lennie Tristano, films West Side Story and Rebel Without a Cause, and album covers, furniture, and objects designed in the 1950s modern style (or West Coast style). At the end of the semester, students will be able to connect issues of race to interdisciplinary study in the context of American popular culture.
Instruction Type:Classroom instruction Grade Options:CPA Fees:
Course Type:IdentSame As:L98 225  L90 226Frequency:Every 1 or 2 Years / History


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