General Studies Advanced Interdisciplinary Seminars:
GST 303-W. The Culture of Rock
Dr. Michael R. Frontani
Office: 216B McEwen
Office Hours: M,W ; TTh
Phone Number: (w)278-5664
This course—as the title indicates—examines the “culture of rock.” Specifically, it is concerned with the evolution of rock music and subcultures centered upon that music. In particular, the course examines the nascent youth culture of the 1950s, the counterculture of the 1960s, and the reggae and punk subcultures of the 1970s. Among the issues considered:
This class will not be a full-blown history of rock music and culture; nevertheless, an understanding of the historical and cultural contexts for the numerous musical forms and subcultures is essential. Thus, a loose/general survey of rock history is provided. Within this loose historical framework, we will think critically about the evolution of rock music, the technological developments necessary to that evolution, the function of the “star” within the music industry and as a model for members of the various subcultures, and youth music’s function within youth-based movements.
Goals and Objectives:
1. Mastery of theoretical concepts, as evinced in essay exams, presentations, and papers..
2. Knowledge of individuals significant to the development of youth music and subcultures, as evinced in essay exams, presentations, and papers.
3. Knowledge of significant forces (social, economic, etc.) contributing to the development of mass culture and youth culture, as evinced in essay exams, papers, and presentations.
1. Student will be able to pursue a significant research program culminating in a research paper and presentation.
2. Student will be able to assimilate a significant amount of information, analyze it for relevance and credibility.
1. Student will hand in a 25 page research paper demonstrating correct language usage, and mastery of the style described in the Chicago Manual of Style.
2. Student will make oral presentations and lead discussions in class of assigned readings.
3. Student will make a presentation of their research project, utilizing technology (i.e. Powerpoint, etc.)
4. Student will effectively use Blackboard.
· Goal: Acquire time management skills.
1. Student will be prepared for class, having completed all assigned work before class.
2. Student will meet all deadlines for assignments.
and Andrew Goodwin, eds. On Record: Rock, Pop, and the Written Word.
Nelson. The Death of Rhythm and Blues.
ed. 2000. The
Beatles, Popular Music and Society.
Lennon, John. Lennon Remembers: The Full Rolling Stone Interviews from 1970. Interviews with Jann Wenner.
James. Flowers in the Dustbin: The Rise of Rock and Roll, 1947-1977.
James T. Grand Expectations: The United
States, 1945-1974. Vol. 10 of TheOxford
History of the
L. A Manual for Writers of Term
Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. 6th edition.
Timothy. Catch a Fire: The Life of Bob Marley. Reprint Edition.
Anthony, James Henke, and Holly George, eds.
The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll. 3rd ed.
The Media and
Communication Studies Site. Ed. Daniel
94-100 A 90-93 A- 87-89 B+ 84-86 B 80-83 B- 77-79 C+ 74-76 C 70-73 C-
67-69 D+ 64-66 D 60-63 D- 59 & below F
· EXERCISES/ESSAYS (50%): You will have three  exercises/essays comprised of individual research on topics assigned by the professor.
1. Biographical Essay (15%): 25-page minimum. I will assign each of you a notable rock and roll/rock performer or band. You will go to Belk Library—and any other sources you deem necessary—and research that topic.
o Papers must be typed and double-spaced.
o Papers must be stapled in upper-left corner.
o Papers will employ in-text parenthetical references and a “Works Cited” page.
o Papers will be due at the last class meeting!
o Minimum 15 sources
o Maximum 3 internet sources
Library Research Exercise (10%): You will turn in an annotated bibliography for the topic you have been assigned
[Biographical essay, above]. This exercise must by typed/word-processed,
and in 10-12 point font. Additionally,
it must be checked for grammar and spelling, and must follow
a. Books [biographies, autobiographies, histories, etc.];
b. Scholarly articles;
c. Mass market sources, including newspapers and magazines;
d. MINIMUM OF 15 SOURCES—FIVE NON-INTERNET SOURCES FOR EVERY INTERNET SOURCE USED; Finally,
e. NO DOT.COMS!
Theory Essay (25%): You are to write a 8-10 page (minimum) essay
summarizing the various views as presented in the theory readings handed out in
class. This essay must by
typed/word-processed, double-spaced, and in 10-12 point font. Additionally, it must be checked for grammar
and spelling, and must follow
· RESEARCH PAPER (30%): Utilizing the research you have done, you will write one research paper on your topic, minimum of 25 pages of text, excluding Works Cited. This essay will require you to apply a theoretical model[s] to your topic.
a. This essay must by typed/word-processed, double-spaced, and in 10-12 point font;
b. It must be checked for grammar and spelling;
d. Readability will figure prominently in your grade—per JCM Departmental policies, 1/3 letter grade will be deducted for each spelling or mechanical error;
e. Finally, you MUST make two copies of the finished assignment—one to hand in and one for your files.
· PARTICIPATION (20%): You are expected to have completed assigned readings before the class in which they will be discussed. You will be called upon regularly to help your classmates analyze course materials. PARTICIPATION IS ESSENTIAL TO MASTERING THE MATERIALS (NOT TO MENTION RECEIVING A DECENT GRADE). Additionally, two exercises will be weighed in evaluating your participation:
Group Presentations: The List (10%)
Six Groups: The List (10%): As part of your participation grade, you are expected to participate in our own version of VH1’s The List. You are expected to present three choices for your group’s assigned category [see below]. You should be able to argue forcefully for your choices—doing outside research to back up your point of view is a necessary component of this assignment. The depth of your research will be considered in assigning a grade for this assignment—a superior response will be culled not only from books and websites, but also from magazines and newspapers; further, it will take into account contemporary sources [i.e., comment, criticism, etc., published during the time in question]. Present me with a typed/word-processed statement of your research and choices, including an annotated bibliography, before presenting.
Group 4: Greatest Group
Group 3: Greatest Performer
Group 1: Greatest Album
Group 6: Greatest Film
Group 2: Greatest Guitar Player
Group 5: Greatest Female Performer/Band
Individual Presentations (10%)
Individual Presentations (10%): Each student will make a 10 minute presentation on their research project. You may include audio and video components within your presentation. Essentially, it is your task to inform the class about your topic, and to offer your evaluation of the topic’s importance to the history of rock and roll and related culture(s). Individual presentations will take place during the last 2-3 weeks of class. Present me with an outline of your presentation, including sources, before presenting.
· FINAL EXAM: Friday, May 16 —MANDATORY!
· ATTENDANCE: It is important that you attend class regularly and on time. Students may accumulate two unexcused absences. Each subsequent unexcused absence will reduce the final grade by one-third letter grade. A doctor’s note or verification of a family emergency (death, illness, etc.) is required for an absence to be considered excused.
Note: Late arrivals to class will also impact upon your grade—BE ON TIME!
· KEEP TRACK OF YOUR GRADES:
Bio Essay (15%) Lib. Ex. (10%) Theory Ex. (25%) Paper (30%) Participation (30%)
______ + ______ + ______ + ______ + ______ =_____/100
· February 11: Meet in Library
· Thursday, February 13: The List: Group 1: Greatest Album
· Thursday, February 27: BIOGRAPHICAL ESSAY due 10:30 am!
· Thursday March 13: The List: Group 4: Greatest Group; THEORY ESSAY Due, 10:30 am!
· Thursday, March 20: The List: Group 3: Greatest Performer
· Saturday, March 22-Sunday, March 30—Spring Break.
· Thursday, April 3: The List: Group 6: Greatest Film
· Thursday, April 10: The List: Group 2: Greatest Guitar Player
· Thursday, April 17: The List: Group 5: Greatest Female Performer/Band
· Tuesday, April 29: Research Project presentations begin
· Tuesday, May 13 (last day of class): RESEARCH PAPER (30%) due 10:30 am!
· Friday, May 16 —MANDATORY!
I. Rebels Without a Cause: Teen Angst and “Race Music”
Frith and Goodwin:
Bernard. “Theodor Adorno Meets the
Cadillacs.” In Tania Modleski, Ed. Studies
in Entertainment: Critical Approaches to
John. Cultural Theory and Popular
Culture: A Reader.
--Bennett, Tony. “Popular Culture and the ‘Turn to Gramsci’”
John. “Rockin’ Hegemony: West Coast Rock
and Amerika’s War in
(continued. . .)
TOPIC 2 Hegemony; Star Theory; Rock and Roll’s first generation: Factors and Players
II. The Polarized 1960s: The Counterculture
CASE STUDY: IMAGE AND THE BEATLES
Wenner, Lennon Remembers
Frith and Goodwin:
Patterson, 442-58; 562-93; 637-710.
TOPIC 2 Pop Art
TOPIC 3 Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and the Counterculture
III. The Counterculture Comes Apart
George, The Death of Rhythm and Blues
TOPIC 1 The
TOPIC 3 The Festival
TOPIC 4 Soul
IV. The 1970s and the Corporate “Crisis”—Rock Responds
White, Catch a Fire
Frith and Goodwin:
TOPIC 1 American in the 1970s
TOPIC 2 Reggae
V. Is Rock Dead?
Frith and Goodwin:
Academic Message and Honor Code