College Of Arts and Sciences | Juke Joints to Choir Loft: Sacred vs. Secular in African American Music
E103 | 0085 | Burnim, M.


From slavery to the present, debates have raged among scholars and
practitioners concerning the lines of demarcation between sacred and
secular forms of African American music.  Whether it was slaves who
danced their Christianity in the invisible church or the multi-
platinum-selling gospel artist Kirk Franklin whose recordings are
just as likely to surface on Billboard’s r&b chart as on its list of
top gospel, or Richard Penniman, (better known as ‘Little Richard”)
who three-times renounced a career in popular music to perform gospel
instead,  the history of African American music is replete with
artists and repertoire which challenge conventional Judeo-Christian
musical and aesthetic values.  Utilizing an ethnomusicological
perspective, which foregrounds the significance of culture in the
formation and expression of musical values, this course will explore
those inter- and intra-cultural dynamics which define the
sacred/secular continuum in African American music.