MUS114 – Summer 2021 – Session B – Week 1

  1. Reading response one!
    1. About 30 of you have completed it, it was due on Thursday!
    2. Get it in as soon as possible. 🙂
  2. Questions about the syllabus?
  3. Drop something you’ve been listening to in the chat!

  1. Shuker
    1. Page 9. What does Shuker mean by “media literacy” and “critical distance”?
    2. Page 13-14. Everyone has “cultural capital” based on their own “social position,” according to French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu.
    3. Explain who Adorno was, his thoughts, and his impact. Same for Gramsci 🙂
    4. What is high culture? What is low culture? Name some examples for each.
    5. Page 20-21. A sense of “economic determinism” emerges out of the industrial/political economy view of popular music. What does it mean? What do you think is the relationship between consumption and production? Who is in control – the consumer or the industry?
  2. Feld
    1. One of the central case studies in this reading is the 1986 Paul Simon album called Graceland. Follow Feld’s description of Graceland. On page 242, he makes an important move in his argument by calling the collaborating musicians “wage laborers.” Then, Feld comes to the important concept of ownership within musical appropriation.Why does he call ownership a “boundary line” between the melody and countermelody of appropriation?
    2. Page 246. Here is the crux of the article. Feld writes that James Brown is allowed to appropriate African rhythms into American funk and soul, and that Nigerian Fela Kuti can appropriate American music (through James Brown) into Nigerian Afro-Beat without receiving backlash and social critique. However, when the Talking Heads—a white, American rock band—appropriate musical styles from James Brown and Fela Kuti, they are critiqued harshly for negatively appropriating or even stealing their music. What is the central issue here, according to Feld?
  3. PBS Blackface Minstrelsy Discussion
    1. What were some key takeaways you got out of this material?
    2. How did this relate back to what you read in Roediger?
  4. Roediger
    1. Pages 118-19. What does it mean that blackface provided a stage for lower-class whites (and especially immigrants) to deal with urban anxiety and remember “preindustrial joys”?
    2. Pages 120-22. How did blackface show provide a stage for white male and female sexuality? How were black bodies sexualized through white fascination and exoticism?
      1. We’ll get more into the question of gender with folks like Angela Davis and bell hooks.
    3. Pages 122-27. “…blackface entertainment was not merely about race relations but also about social relations among whites” (pg 123). Describe two specific social uses of blackface for white people, other than its use for overt racism.

  1. Writing Workshop
    1. How do I choose a topic? Where do I start? Why am I crying? Why did I wait so long to start this paper??? Help???

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