AMCULT 335 - Arts and Culture in American Life
Section: 001
Term: FA 2009
Subject: American Culture (AMCULT)
Department: LSA American Culture
Requirements & Distribution:
Other Course Info:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

An advanced introduction to the arts in 20th-century U.S. cultural history, this course will establish the late nineteenth-century context and then survey some key topics in twentieth-century America artistic life and popular culture. Special emphasis will be placed on Black/white relations in the arts, the politics of culture in the first half of the 20th century, and the shifting meanings of modernism and postmodernism. We will approach these themes especially through developments in music, literature, art, and film. The multidisciplinary perspective developed here will introduce students to the comparative interpretation of a spectrum of cultural phenomena — including the high modernist poetry of T.S. Eliot, Duke Ellington's jazz music, Hollywood comedy during the Great Depression, Zora Neale Hurston's Harlem Renaissance literature, Jackson Pollock's abstract expressionist painting, the soul music of Aretha Franklin, and the postmodernist ideas lurking within popular films like "The Matrix" — as sites of historical inquiry. The course will explore how the elite art practices and discourses of modernism and postmodernism developed not in an isolated vacuum but rather as symbiotic responses to the ever changing commercialization of cultural life and ordinary leisure. Therefore, the rise and transformation of mass culture will be of particular interest. As the course moves up to the present time, we will emphasize how the multiple worlds of popular music continue to serve as battlegrounds over the representation of gender roles, cultural identity, and racial and ethnic diversity. The format will be two lectures per week plus a required discussion section. There will also be several required film screenings outside of class. Requirements should include attendance, midterm and final exam, brief written commentaries, and periodic reading quizzes.

AMCULT 335 - Arts and Culture in American Life
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
MW 2:00PM - 3:00PM
Note: Students will be auto-enrolled in lecture 001 when they elect a discussion section (sections 002-004).
002 (DIS)
F 9:00AM - 10:00AM
003 (DIS)
F 11:00AM - 12:00PM
004 (DIS)
F 1:00PM - 2:00PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

Coursepack Location:
Dollar Bill Copying
ISBN: 0877225001
Cheap amusements : working women and leisure in turn-of-the-century New York, Author: Kathy Peiss., Publisher: Temple University Press 1986
ISBN: 0195177495
All shook up : how rock 'n' roll changed America, Author: Glenn C. Altschuler ... [et al.]., Publisher: Oxford University Press 1st Oxford 2005
Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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