Section 900: TR 1715-1830
Instructor: Timothy Bradford
African Americans have created some of the richest, most vibrant musical genres in the world as evinced by spirituals, gospel, work songs, blues, jazz, rhythm and blues, soul, funk, and hip-hop. How did a relatively small group of people, who started in such difficult circumstances, survive, innovate, and even thrive in a country that was, and in ways remains, indifferent if not openly hostile? And what can we learn about African American and American history and culture by examining these music forms? With these questions in mind, we will explore this music and related literature from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century with an emphasis on their roles in survival, innovation, identity, pride, and leadership. Amiri Baraka’s Blues People, Kevin Young’s The Grey Album, selections from The Norton Anthology of African American Literature, a Spotify playlist, and various documentaries will serve as the main texts for the course and as inspiration for asking great questions that we will attempt to answer while developing critical reading, thinking, researching, and writing skills.