History | Celebrities, Hollywood, and Rock n' Roll: Race and Popular Culture in U.S. History
A379 | 14097 | T. Ford


This course is designed to offer an intense study of American
popular culture from the Great Migration to the Black Power Movement
for upper-division students with some background in U.S. History. We
will examine how pop culture has been used to both construct and
contest racial boundaries in the U.S. and how such constructions
have changed over the seven decades that the course covers. We will
examine a wide range of primary sources, including newspaper and
magazine articles, novels, memoirs, television shows, and films,
along with the most relevant secondary literature to study the
vibrancy and diversity of popular American entertainment. Through
our exploration of these cultural forms, we will analyze how they
were experienced individually and collectively in various public
spaces. The course is divided into two units which offer different
analytical frameworks through which we will study race and its
relationship to popular culture. Doing so will help us understand
why popular culture had multiple meanings and interpretations for
different racial/ethnic groups, communities, and individuals.

In this course you will: learn a general narrative of the history of
American popular culture; gain an informed perspective on cultural
production and its change over time; learn to think critically about
social constructions of race, class, and gender; learn to build an
argument using historical evidence; communicate historical knowledge
through analytical writing and discussion.