L384 1978 HUTCHINSON
Studies in American Culture

9:30a-10:45a MW (30) 3 cr.

TOPIC: THE JAZZ AGE

This course will focus on the literature and culture of the “Jazz Age,” with a special focus on the mixture of “high” and “low” cultures, ethnic and racial “mixing” and “matching,” and testing of the mores governing gender and sexuality in the period roughly from the end of World War I to the mid-1930s. Most of the course will focus on literary texts, including a number that use or refer to jazz music, but we will also learn some things about early jazz itself and its musicians and clubs. We will consider what, if anything, the first sound movie, The Jazz Singer, has to do with jazz. We may also talk about some paintings, such as Stuart Davis’s Swing Landscape (in IU’s wonderful art museum). A sizeable portion of the course will concern the movement known as the Harlem Renaissance, featuring African American writers. The literary texts will include work by Langston Hughes, Jean Toomer, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Rudolph Fisher, Nella Larsen, Claude McKay, Sherwood Anderson, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and others.

Requirements will probably include two papers, participation in a group oral report, and two (mostly essay) exams.