American Studies | Topics in Interdisciplinary AMST-Songs, Slams, Slogans: Poetry as Social Force
A350 | 31263 | Christensen, D


D. Christensen
This course examines a range of rhymes—playground insults, murdered
girl ballads, freestyle rap, advertising jingles, border corridos,
gravestone inscriptions, song parodies, retirement tributes—as
socially significant forms of popular literacy. Employing methods
used by literary critics, ethnographers, folklorists,
ethnomusicologists, and scholars of communication, cultural studies,
and performance studies, we’ll look at how and why people deploy
verse forms in everyday life.

Collection (of a rhyme from childhood), creation (of a new poem or
parody), and performance (of composed or adlibbed verse) will be some
of the tasks required as we analyze vernacular poetry in terms of
form, context, agency, identity, knowledge, and power. In addition to
a number of scholarly articles and book chapters, the following books
will be required: Osceola: Memories of a Sharecropper’s Daughter (ed.
Govenar, 2000), Love that Dog (Creech, 2001/2008), and Hip Hop Speaks
to Children (Giovanni, 2008).