Below, please find syllabi for our November 5th discussion and lecture. Typically these resources are posted 2 weeks in advance.
Theory, Criticism, and Society: 10/2018 – 3/2019
During this semester, we’ll explore ideas from theory and criticism focusing on art, literature, music, and culture, with the further intention of applying such ideas to the creation and organization of society. Our goal is to deepen our understanding of theory and criticism, and to broaden our perspective of the world we live in—and the possibilities open to us.
Lecture: RACISM, REVOLUTION AND ROCK & ROLL: The Marriage of European and African Music in America
November 5th, 7:30
Lecturer: Mark M
One cannot understand the history of the United States without understanding the history of the relationship of peoples of European and African descent: the history of slavery and its aftermath. It’s a history of an experiment in freedom that is both ugly and full of poignant beauty. It is an inextricable relationship of great consequence: full of bitterness and hatred, attraction and promise. It has produced some of the most inhumane treatment of human beings imaginable, yet has given birth to some of the greatest cultural achievements the world has ever seen.
This brief lecture and demonstration will examine this history by looking at how these two musical worlds collided, and have mutually influencing each other continuously beginning in the 1600’s until the present day.
First we will see how the early slaves were prohibited and limited in the expression of their musical/religious heritage. How was this an expression of racism? How did slave culture maintain these traditions in spite of these limits?
Second, we will look at some of the musical styles that emerged as European musicians borrowed and imitated African-American’s music. How did these styles not only become the source of the popular music of the day–but also reinforce racism and racial stereotypes?
Third, we will both discuss and listen to differences some of the most typical musical characteristics of European and African music and how they began to mix. How were these differences used as evidence for European superiority as a race? How did they change popular music? What are your own preferences when it comes to musical styles and qualities?
Lastly, we will listen to and discuss how mixture of African and European music helped give birth to an ongoing cultural and social revolution. How has this mixture of cultural values influenced your own life?