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Sample Proposal: Cultural Diversity

College of Fine Arts

Please direct all questions about the flag proposal process to the Center for the Core Curriculum.

MUS 342: Music and the American City

Department of Music

Please describe specifically which underrepresented group or groups in the United States will be studied.

Much of this class will be dedicated to studying the music of African-Americans, the most significant musical cultural group in urban America across the twentieth century. We will study the history of several African American urban communities, and the music that these communities developed. This will include jazz and rock ‘n’ roll in New Orleans, jazz and gospel in Chicago, blues and jazz in Memphis, jazz and hip-hop Los Angeles, and bebop and hip-hop in New York City. Despite the success of all of these genres, the communities that nourished and developed them were and remain underrepresented and marginalized. In their study of jazz, for example, students will read about the music of free and enslaved Africans in New Orleans, the post-slavery African American communities in New Orleans, jazz music on the Mississippi, the migration of New Orleans musicians to Chicago, and the post-war bebop clubs in New York City.

What are typical readings in the course or class related to Cultural Diversity in the United States?

Selections from the following:

  • Ned Sublette, The World That Made New Orleans (Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 2008).
  • Louis Armstrong, My Life in New Orleans (New York:, Da Capo Press, 1954).
  • WC Handy, Father of the Blues: An Autobiography (New York: Macmillian, 1947).
  • William Howland Kenney, Chicago Jazz: A Cultural History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993).
  • Guthrie P. Ramsey, Jr., Race Music: Black Cultures from Bebop to Hip-Hop (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003).
  • Michael W. Harris, The Rise of Gospel Blues (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994).
  • Robert Palmer, Deep Blues (New York: Viking Press, 1981).
  • Tricia Rose, Black Noise Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America (Hanover: Wesleyan University Press, 1994).
  • Jeff Chang, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation (New York: Picador, 2005).
  • Joseph Schloss, Foundation: b-boys, b-girls, and hip-hop culture in New York (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).
  • Murray Forman, The ‘Hood Comes First: Race, Space, and Place in Rap and Hip-Hop (Hanover: Wesleyan University Press, 2002).
  • Patrick Burke, Come In and Hear the Truth: Jazz and Race on 52nd Street, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008).

Describe typical assignments related to Cultural Diversity in the United States.

All students will complete a 4-5 page paper on early jazz music. They will write about one jazz song and artist from the 1920s or 1930s, using their discussion of the music to discuss jazz music and African American culture in the early twentieth century. The paper will be 4-5 pages, and must include readings from class, original research, and discussions of social, geographic, and musical specifics. Both the midterm and final will have significant sections dedicated to African American music. This will include identifying and discussing music examples and short essays about African American music and culture.

Please explain how at least one-third of the course grade is based on content related to Cultural Diversity in the United States.

All students will complete a 4-5 page paper on early jazz music in New Orleans and Chicago. This assignment is worth 15% of the grade. Both the midterm and final will have significant sections dedicated to African American music. Together they are worth 35% of the grade. Many of the daily quizzes will also test them on their knowledge of African Americans and their music. These are worth 5% of the grade.

Return to Proposal Tips: Cultural Diversity.