AMCULT 405 - Topics in American Culture
Section: 001 American Blues Music
Term: WN 2011
Subject: American Culture (AMCULT)
Department: LSA American Culture
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
May be elected twice for credit. May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:

The blues, as discussed in this upper-level seminar, are seen not just as a musical style, but rather as a technique to nurture and sustain moral and cultural alternatives to dominant, white values. In many ways the blues musicians of the 1920s and 1930s (the principal focus of this course) can be viewed as preservers and purveyors of African Americans' own epistemology, their own theories of social change, and their own theories of class. It is the intent of this course to provide a dialogue in which we will uncover how blues musicians manifested these cultural modes and processes within their music, for embedded in both their musical works and life stories is a process of social and ideological re-accentuation. That is, we will examine their lives and works as a 'classic text:' a collective that has been continually utilized by both white and African American cultures to make sense of its social, political, economic, racial, gender, etc., circumstances, and to re-accentuate them through various responses to them. It is through an intersectional approach such as this that we will uncover how discrete forms and expressions of oppression, and responses to it, shape, and are shaped by, one another. Further, as suggested above, we will also see how blues musicians served almost as 'Delta social workers' by using their music to participate in self-evaluation and self-definition, thereby allowing the preservation of a degree of self-esteem against racism.

Course Requirements: Students are required to keep a journal, handed in and graded weekly, write three reaction papers, and produce a capstone project and final paper.

Class Format: Three hours per week in seminar format.

AMCULT 405 - Topics in American Culture
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM
002 (SEM)
Tu 5:00PM - 8:00PM
003 (SEM)
MWF 2:00PM - 5:00PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

ISBN: 0195398939
The blues : a very short introduction, Author: Elijah Wald., Publisher: Oxford University Press 2010
ISBN: 0252076761
Long lost blues : popular blues in America, 1850-1920, Author: Peter C. Muir., Publisher: University of Illinois Press 2010
ISBN: 9780393062588
Delta blues : the life and times of the Mississippi Masters who revolutionized American music, Author: Ted Gioia ; artwork by Neil Harpe., Publisher: W.W. Norton 1st ed. 2008
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