At the end of the course, you will have:
- acquired an understanding regarding origins, developments, processes of hybridization of musical developments both in the United States and in the global sphere;
- acquired a keen sense regarding the cultural and political significance of American music;
- obtained experience with theories of cultural studies and their relevance to critically describe and analyze developments in American music and society;
- acquired skills to critically reflect on the global impact of American music and its multiethnic origins.
Why has American music become a phenomenon of popular culture on a global scale? The seminar traces the specific history and developments of American music from Native American music via the origins of blues and jazz to protest and popular music in the 21st century. We will analyze the potential of American music to cross cultural, ethnic and political boundaries. What function do multi-ethnic origins play? What are the international routes in the creation of American music, its impact on identity formations, and its means of gaining recognition? The seminar will offer an introduction to the history of American music and its manifestations in different media from concerts and theatre via records and film to video and the Internet. As source materials we will work with ground-breaking compositions and musical albums, biopics of musicians and bands, concert films, Broadway musicals, cutting-edge video clips on the Internet.