Sociology | Topics in Social Organization
S410 | 4139 | Armstrong

Topic: From Hip Hop to Opera: The Production and Consumption of


This course will examine the production and consumption of cultural
materials such as music, art, literature, and television. We will
address such questions as: how does art come to reflect the society
that produces it? What kind of financial resources are needed to
produce different kinds of culture? Where do artists find money to
support their work? How do groups decide whom to credit for cultural
innovations? Who gets to decide what counts as good art and what does
not? How does one become a cultural critic and what do they do? What
does a viewer need to know to appreciate various cultural forms? How
are tastes acquired? How are tastes distributed throughout society?
Who gets to decide what counts as “good taste”? This course will be
taught using a variety of participatory activities, both inside and
outside of class time. Conventional lecture format will be used
sparingly, with most time in class spent engaged in student
presentations, group-work, class discussions, or interacting with
guest speakers. Students will be required to complete several
projects, individually and in groups, during the course of the
semester. Evaluation of the course will be based primarily on these
projects. There will be at most one in-class examination.