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Soc 71: Sociology of popular music
Prof. Dipannita Basu
BC 214, 6:30-9:50
Broad Center, 215
Ext: (909) 607-2833
Office hours 2-4 Tuesday and by appointment
Popular music is omnipresent. We've all bought it, listened to it,
danced to it, developed fashions and identities through it. Now
we are going to study it. This course concentrates on primarily
reggae, dancehall, hip-hop and dance music (house to UK
underground garage). These genres provide the sonic prism
through which to examine: the societal conditions in which music
emerges; authenticity and appropriation (how popular music
thrives on borrowing customizing and reinterpreting other
people's cultural property); the representation/production and
consumption of music (i.e. the media and music industry), and
the political and social implications of popular music (gender,
race, globalization). The final project will enable you to pursue
own critical analysis of a music that interests you.
The following books are available for purchase at Huntley or click the
book title to purchase from
Barnes and Nobles online.
Additional materials will be handed out in class.
- Three book reviews (60%)
- Attendance and participation in class and at the conference (20%)
- Final music project (20%)
- Book reviews.
You have a choice of reviewing three of the four books in the course.
The authors of two books, Tricia Rose (Black noise), and Mark
Anthony Neal (What the music said) will be conference
participants (as will two others authors in the course materials,
Craig Watkins and Brian Cross). Because you have an
opportunity to read their books, and meet them, two of the three
book reviews will be on their material. For the third choice, you
can either review Norman Stolzoff (Wake the town and tell the
people) or Altered state.
The books reviews are due as follows.
February 13th: Wake up and tell the town
March 6th: What the music said
March 27th: Black noise
April 17th: Altered state
Attendance is mandatory in class. More than two absences will
reduce your final grade. Conference attendance is also
mandatory. You should ensure that you leave the 30-31st of
March free so you can attend. There is also an opportunity to
go to the premiere screening of Keeping time, in LA, on
January 27th at 7:30 pm. If enough interest is shown, I will
arrange for travel from Claremont to LA.
- Final project.
The aim of this project is to give you an opportunity to focus on
a topic of your choice, so that you can apply the concepts and
tools gained in the course to critically examine an issue of
concern or interest to you. Previous student research has
included the politics of rap in Turkey, the politics and ideology of
rap and 'underground' hip hop, an analysis of punk lyrics and
their socio-historical context, a comparison of heavy metal and
rap in their portrayals of gender Others have given musical
performances (Dj'ing, scratching, different dance styles of Latin
American music) You have the choice of presenting the project
in groups. The paper should be 6-8 pages long. It should list
appropriate references and sources. Further details will be given
LATE PAPERS WILL BE MARKED DOWN ON A DAILY BASIS.
PLEASE DO NOT BE LATE FOR CLASS -- IT IS UNEXCEPTABLE AND RUDE.
If you are looking for the course schedule and assignments, click here.
Assistant Professor, Sociology and Black Studies
Broad Center, 215