History of Rock and Roll
Rock and Roll High School! A History of Rock and Roll in American Culture
In the middle of the twentieth century, rock and roll music exploded across the US. Kids loved it; parents feared it. Since that time, rock and roll has become the dominant form of American popular music and has spread across the world through the extended reach of a multibillion-dollar industry. This class explores how rock and roll developed as a form of mass popular entertainment from its roots in African American and rural white American forms of music. Rock and roll offers a window into American culture, helping highlight important struggles between the old and young; men and women; black, white and brown; and art and commerce.
Geared toward international students (with no advanced knowledge of music or music theory required), this class will offer students a glimpse into American popular culture and a taste of what American college courses might be like. The class will consist of reading scholarly and critical accounts of rock and roll, watching movies and documentaries about rock and roll music, guest lecturers (hopefully a mix of professional musicians and critics/academics), potential field trips to see rock in action and, of course, listening to lots of music! Students can demonstrate what they have learned through class discussions and several writing opportunities.
Instructor: Brian Comfort, PhD Candidate, History Department