Folklore | From Juke Joint to Choir Loft
E103 | 11652 | M. Burnim


Topic: Sacred vs. Secular in African American Music
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 musics

Fulfills COLL Arts & Humanities, Topics