2019-2020 Academic Catalog 
    Dec 03, 2023  
2019-2020 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

HIST 109 - Special Topics in History

This is an introductory-level variable content course.  Each semester the course is offered, the content will be based on student interest and faculty expertise. 


From the colonial era to the present, Americans have used sounds to project political power, build community, inspire action, and express cultural identity; to deceive or control others, or educate and empower them. In this course, we will explore what America sounded like in different times and places, and what these sounds meant to the people who made and heard them. We will consider the political and cultural meanings of music (including sea chanties, religious singing, social movement music, advertising jingles, rock ‘n’ roll and hip-hop), spoken word (gender in political speech, languages and ethnic accents, performed poetry and comedy), and noise (the ways people have interpreted and shaped the “soundscapes” in which they live, from sounds of the natural environment like thunder and wind, to man-made sounds of industrial machinery and city traffic). Considering the aural dimensions of racial and ethnic representation will help us hear how African Americans, Latinxs, and Native Americans have been portrayed in popular culture and how they have used sound to craft their own narratives. We will analyze audio and audiovisual recordings as primary sources to understand our past, and examine the uses of sound to convey historical knowledge in secondary sources such as documentaries and podcasts.

Anticipated Terms Offered: Each semester, as needed.