MUS 114 Fall 2021 MUS 114: Music and Popular Culture University of

MUS 114 Fall 2021

MUS 114: Music and Popular Culture

University of California, Santa Barbara

Fall 2021

Instructor: Jared Holton

Class Hours: TR 12:30-1:45pm

Office Hours: TBA

Teaching Assistants:

Kira Weiss

Office Hours: TBA

Section Times: T 3:00-3:50pm, 4:00-4:50pm

Sara Landeau

Office Hours: TBA

Section Times: F 11:00-11:50am, 12:00-12:50pm

Hunter Gettelfinger

Office Hours: TBA

Section Times: T 2:00-2:50pm, F 1:00-1:50pm

Welcome to Music 114! In this course you will learn to identify and describe a variety of musical genres and styles spanning more than 150 years of popular music culture in North America and beyond. We will see how social formations such as race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, and religion emerge, what significance they have for people, and how these issues still persist and pervade popular culture today. In tracing the development of various music styles, you will hear how even the most progressive or revolutionary music borrows from something that came before. Our readings will follow recurring themes, including cultural theories addressing media industries and technology, appropriation, identity and intersectionality, subculture and hegemony.

The Instructor reserves the right to make policy and course changes to the syllabus at any time without advance notice to students.   

Course Outcomes

In this course you will:

Demonstrate in writing the ability to engage popular music scholarship in a critical, comparative, and analytical way.

Analyze a variety of popular musical genres, styles, and practices through the intersections of identify formations such as race, class, gender, and sexuality.

Develop a method of evaluating popular music as a contested site of production, consumption, appropriation, solidarity, and resistance.

Activities and Expectations

Reading (30-40 pages per week): Careful and critical reading is crucial to your ability to meet our class goals and for you to get the most out of this upper-division course. The reading assignments are designed to accompany the topics and issues that we present, contextualize, and analyze in lectures and sections. But hey…let’s be honest. Academic readings can be difficult to get through! Section discussions and assignment prompts will help you process the core readings. The readings are also great writing samples and will help you develop writing skills in music. All readings are available electronically in GauchoSpace.

Listening and other Media Tasks (1-2 hours per week): Engaging with the listening assignments is an essential aspect of this course. You do not need to have “musicianship training” to be able to listen critically. Whether you are an experienced music performer or an interested listener, we will develop the necessary skills throughout the course. But it is your responsibility to keep up with the listening assignments. Music streaming for some class materials is available on ARES Course Reserves ( or through e-databases that can be accessed through the UCSB Library home site. You can access all media assigned in this course from any device with internet capabilities.

Discussion & Interaction: Your participation is very important to the success of achieving the course objectives and is a part of your overall grade. I encourage you to voice a question or comment in lecture at least once this course. In sections, talking with your TA and peers scaffolds your learning about popular music. Make it a weekly goal to raise a point during your section meeting about the reading or topic.

Please be aware that all of the lectures for MUS 114 will be recorded. If you do not want your voice recorded, please pose your question after class or during office hours. You will not be penalized for non-participation in a classroom recording.

In discussions, help create and foster a comfortable “classroom” environment. I expect civil, respectful, and courteous displays of opinion. While it is acceptable to have differences in opinion, personal attacks, racist, sexist, homophobic or otherwise inappropriate language will not be tolerated. Students who exhibit this kind of language during any course communication may be dropped from the course.

Class Platforms

Our course content and interaction streams across two platforms. Students are required to create and manage a profile on these sites:

GauchoSpace (…if you are reading this, you already have a profile…)

Eli Review

This third-party platform is now integrated into GauchoSpace. Under the “General” tab, you will find a link to Eli Review, which we will use later in the course to prepare the two main paper assignments. Create an account with your full name, as registered at UCSB.

For help with any of these technologies, please visit this link:

Grade Breakdown

Attendance and Participation 12%

4 Writing Responses (WR) 8%

2 Listening-Lecture Quizzes (LLQ) 20%

Paper 1 (P1): Ethnographic focus 20%

Pre-Writing Task for P1 5%

Paper 2 (P2): Theoretical focus 30%

Pre-Writing Task for P2 5%

Attendance, participation, writing responses, quizzes (40%): Weekly participation is crucial for achieving success in this class.

Attendance & Participation (12%): You will get a weekly participation mark every week for showing up to lectures and section, and for engaging with your TAs and your peers. Arrive on-time and come prepared.

4 Writing Responses (8% total): You will practice writing about popular music and current themes in the humanities by following prompts posted in GauchoSpace. Three of the prompts will be on the most pivotal readings of the course. One of the prompts will be about the two required concerts. These responses are graded for grammatical accuracy and reading comprehension. These responses ensure the teaching team that you are interacting with the core readings in the course. WRs are submitted online.

Required Concerts:

For WR #2, you will write on two concerts. These concerts are required participation in the course. Make plans to be at the following:

Concert 1: Las Cafeteras at UCSB Storke Plaza on Wednesday (Sept 29th), 12-1pm. Attendance is FREE.

Concert 2: The Wood Brothers at Granada Theater on Tuesday (Oct 12th), 8-10pm. Tickets are $16 for students and can be purchased online at UCSB Arts and Lectures ( I suggest that you get your tickets early!

*If you are unable to come due to an emergency, you will get an alternative assignment for WR #2. Make sure to document your emergency, and then talk to your TA or instructor.

2 Quizzes (20% total): During weeks 5 and 10, you will take an in-class quiz on the listening and lecture material covered in prior weeks. Each quiz tests your comprehension and application of the key concepts and case studies since the previous quiz. Spending sufficient time with the class materials, keeping up with the writing assignments, and regularly attending lectures will enable your success on these quizzes. Any foreseeable reason for missing these quizzes must be reported to the instructor as soon as possible. In the case that you must miss an exam for a legitimate and documented reason, the instructor must be notified ​at least a week in advance​ and a make-up essay exam will be provided.

Pre-Writing Tasks (5% Each):

Before the P1 and P2 deadlines, you will complete a peer review assignment on Eli Review demonstrating your ethnographic and research foci for each paper assignment. This is to assist you in practicing good research and writing habits that lead to successful papers.

P1: Ethnographic focus (20%):

This project is an ethnographic paper, 1200-1400 words, about a music genre that you don’t particularly like, but that a friend or family member is fond of. You will conduct an interview(s) with them in order to better understand this type of music. Supplemented by secondary/library sources, you will be asked to formulate a statement that emphasizes the perspective of your interviewee and the significance of the genre based on their relationship to it. In addition to referencing the interview(s) you conduct, you will be required to reference at least one academic source (book or journal) and at least two non-academic or journalistic sources. None of these three sources can be from the classroom readings. Include in-text citations for quotes or ideas that are not yours; and list these references within a “References Cited/Bibliography” section at the end of the paper.

P2: Theoretical focus (30%):

This project is a research paper, 1200-1400 words, that engages with one of the five overall concepts discussed in this course (e.g., cultural production, technology, appropriation, subculture, intersectionality) and that examines this process in relation to any music of your choosing. This paper places a heavy emphasis on secondary/library sources. You should plan on working through academic journals and books to uncover the existing literature on your topic. You are welcome to reference as many sources as you wish; however, you will be required to reference at least three academic sources and two non-academic or journalistic publications. None of these five required sources can be from the classroom readings. As a research paper, your analysis will include in-text citations and a “References Cited/Bibliography” section.

This paper constitutes your final exam.

Follow the research prompts, helpful tips, and formatting points for both papers on GauchoSpace.

* Late assignments will not be accepted. However, if a verifiable emergency arises we will work with you. Yet, we will not grant extensions after the due date has come and gone. Make sure to save all documentation of the emergency to show your instructor or TA.

* If any electronic issues happen – such as you can’t submit an assignment…take a screenshot of the problem and be ready to send to your TA or instructor for evidence.

A+ = 97-100

B = 83-86.99

C- = 70-72.99

A = 93-96.99

B- = 80-82.99

D+ = 67-69.99

A- = 90-92.99

C+ = 77-79.99

D = 63-66.99

B+ = 87-89.99

C = 73-76.99

D- = 60-62.99

F = 0-59.99

Calendar of Assignments & Due Dates

*Section times are not listed.






Week 0

Class 12:30-1:45pm

Week 1

Class 12:30-1:45pm

Guest: Las Cafeteras

CONCERT Las Cafeteras, UCSB Storke Plaza, 12pm (free)

Class 12:30-1:45pm

Week 2

Class 12:30-1:45pm

Class 12:30-1:45pm

WR 1

(due online)

Week 3


Class 12:30-1:45pm

Guest: The Wood Brothers

CONCERT Granada Theater, 8pm

($15 tickets)

Class 12:30-1:45pm

Week 4

Class 12:30-1:45pm

Class 12:30-1:45pm

WR 2

(due online)

Week 5

Class 12:30-1:45pm

Eli Review – P1 Writing Task (online)

Class 12:30-1:45pm

LLQ 1 (in class)

Eli Review – P1 Review Task (online)

Week 6

Class 12:30-1:45pm

Class 12:30-1:45pm


(due online)

Week 7

Class 12:30-1:45pm

Class 12:30-1:45pm

WR 3

(due online)

Week 8

Class 12:30-1:45pm

Class 12:30-1:45pm

Eli Review – P2 Writing Task (online)

Week 9

Class 12:30-1:45pm

Eli Review – P2 Review Task (online)


No class

Week 10

Class 12:30-1:45pm

Class 12:30-1:45pm

LLQ 2 (in class)

WR 4

(due online)

Finals Week


(due online)

*Section times are not listed.

Masking Protocol

When we meet in person, we want to do so in a setting that will help us all to focus on this shared interest. This means attending to the indoor mask mandate set by the university, so let’s keep our masks over our noses and mouths when we are inside. If you aren’t feeling well, please don’t attend, but please do let me know. If you are feeling well, please make it a priority to attend in-person meetings (both lecture and sections) because the scheduled in-person work is set up to aid in your learning. Educational theories posit, and I agree, that learning in a social context and from each other is an integral part of the learning process; these in-person meeting times are of high value for furthering your ability to understand and apply the concepts in real world situations. At the end of this syllabus, I included the general UCSB guidelines for Covid-19 protocols. Please read them, as we will follow them in our course.

Academic Honesty

You are expected to abide by the university’s policy on academic honesty and code of conduct. All of the assignments are submitted electronically, and thus, we can easily check for various kinds of plagiarism. Students who commit academic dishonesty (plagiarism, cheating, collusion) will fail the course and be reported to campus authorities. Please review the university’s policy online at:

Campus Resources:

If you are a student with disabilities and require special accommodations, please let me know as soon as possible. Please also contact the Disabled Students Program at (805) 893-2668,

Even with a distance learning format, you can get individual and group consultation services regarding reading comprehension, writing skills, ESL, time management, etc. at Campus Learning Assistance Services:

Wow – what a challenging last year we have had! Some students may feel overwhelmed or depressed with distance learning, coursework, stress and/or other personal challenges. If you find yourself, or another student, in need of support, please do not hesitate to reach out even if you are not currently living in the Santa Barbara area:

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), 24/7 at (805) 893-4411

Campus Advocacy, Resources & Education (CARE), 24/7 at (805) 893-4613

**Trigger warning**

[Adapted from Lilienfeld, Ceci, and Williams 2018 at]

In this course you will be encountering a number of topics that you may find emotionally challenging, even difficult. If some of this stuff makes you feel uncomfortable, that’s perfectly normal, and I encourage you to talk to myself or the TA and your friends about it. But bear in mind that a liberal arts education is designed to confront you with things that challenge and at times even threaten your worldviews. So, if you feel intellectually or emotionally disturbed by what you learn in this course, don’t assume that you should be concerned. It may only mean that you are engaging with novel perspectives, which is what this course (and college) are all about.

Course Schedule & Readings

The schedule is subject to change depending on the progress of the course.

Listening is posted weekly

* Designates a reading linked to a WR. See assignment schedule.

[Unit 1: Weeks 1-2] Introduction to Popular Music: Blackface, Minstrelsy, and the Banjo


*Shuker, Roy. 2001. Chapter 1: “’What’s Goin’ On?’: Popular Culture, Music, and Media Literacy.” In Understanding Popular Music. Second edition. Pp 1-25. New York, NY: Routledge.

PBS Blackface Minstrelsy discussion (PDF)

*Roediger, David R. 1999. “White Skins, Black Masks: Minstrelsy and White Working Class Formation Before the Civil War.” In The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class, revised edition. Pp 115-131. New York: Verso.

[Unit 2: Week 3-4] Early Sound Recording Technology and Theories of Cultural Production: Tin Pan Alley, Vaudeville, and Broadway


Garofalo, Reebee. 1999. “From Music Publishing to MP3: Music and Industry in the Twentieth Century.” American Music 17 (3): 318-36.

Starr and Watermann. 2007. American Popular Music. Second edition. Listening guides for “My Blue Heaven” (pp. 70-3) and “St. Louis Blues” (pp. 92-6).

“Discography of American Historical Recordings” (

[Unit 3: Weeks 4-5] Jazz to Swing, Hillbilly to Country


Jones, LeRoi. 1963. “Swing—From Verb to Noun.” From Blues People. Pp 142-65. New York: Morrow.

Davis, Angela Y. 1998. “I Used to Be Your Sweet Mama: Ideology, Sexuality and Domesticity.” In Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday. Pp 3-41. New York: Pantheon Books.

Malone, Bill C. 1979. “Folk Origins of Southern Music.” In Southern Music, American Music. Pp 4-17. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press.

[Unit 4: Weeks 6-7] Cultural Appropriation: Rock ‘n’ Roll, Rockabilly, and the 1960s Aftermath


*Frith, Simon. 1996. “Rhythm: Race, Sex, and the Body.” In Performing Rites: On the Value of Popular Music. Pp. 123-44. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Garofalo, Reebee. 1999. “From Music Publishing to MP3: Music and Industry in the Twentieth Century.” American Music 17 (3): 336-51. (same article from Unit 2)

Menand, Louis. 2000. “Why They Were Fab.” The New Yorker Oct. 16 & 23.

Dylan, Bob. 2004. Chronicles: Volume 1. Pp. 113-124.

Lipsitz, George. 1994. “Who’ll Stop the Rain: Youth Culture, Rock ‘n’ Roll, and Social Crises.” In The Sixties: From Memory to History. Edited by David Farber. Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press. Pp. 206-34.

[Unit 5: Weeks 8-10] Subculture and Intersectionality: Disco, Punk, MTV, Hip Hop & Rap


Hebdige, Dick. 1979. “Style in Revolt: Revolting Style,” and “Style as Homology.” In Subculture and the Meaning of Style. New York: Routledge. Pp 106-117

*Lorde, Audre. “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House.” Comments at “The Personal and the Political” panel. Second Sex Conference. October 29, 1979. Reprinted in Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde. Pp. 110-3. Berkeley: Crossing Press.

*hooks, bell. 2003. “Selling Hot Pussy: Representations of Black Female Sexuality in the Cultural Marketplace.” In The Politics of Women’s Bodies: Sexuality, Appearance, and Behavior. Second edition. Rose Weitz, ed. Pp 122-32. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Lewis, Lisa A. 1990. “The Making of a Preferred Address.” In Gender Politics and MTV. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Pp 27-42

Rose, Tricia. 1996. “A Style Nobody Can Deal With: Politics, Style, and the Postindustrial City in Hip Hop.” In Mapping Multiculturalism. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Pp 424-44

Coates, Ta-Nehisi. 2003. “Keepin’ it Unreal.” The Village Voice. June 3.

Adapted from the UCSB General Covid-19 Protocol

for in-person classes

COVID-19 and Our MUS 114 Classroom

In order to act in the best interests of our shared classroom community, please be sure to abide by policies established by the University of California and UC Santa Barbara. As a reminder all members of our campus community are required to follow the University of California Covid 19 Vaccination policy. 

Please complete the daily symptom survey before coming to class. Do not come to class if your badge is not green. So that we can all feel confident that we have all remembered to complete the survey, we may periodically show one another our daily clearance badges before starting the day’s class.

Remember that we all must wear masks indoors at all times. If you forget your mask, please take time to get one from your dorm or from one of available distribution spots.

If you are feeling ill or suspect you may have been exposed to someone who is ill, please stay home. Let me and/or your TA know, and we will make arrangements for you. 

Please also remember that weekly testing is required for all non-vaccinated undergraduate students, and recommended for all other non-vaccinated groups. Testing is also available to any member of our campus community free of charge. For more information, visit the UCSB COVID-19 testing site.

This course is designed to be held in-person. If the situation changes and public health guidelines recommendations change, or if I need to self-isolate, I will let you know and we will modify our course format, using Zoom, GauchoSpace, and other platforms to continue our work together. I will communicate with you via email using the address that you use to log into GauchoSpace. Please be sure to use your email for that purpose and be sure to check your email at least once daily. 

General Compliance

Student non-compliance with COVID-19 health and safety requirements or with related directions from the instructor is a violation of the UCSB Student Code of Conduct and will be adjudicated accordingly.

All students of this course, as a condition of physical presence in this classroom (including for exams or tests in this classroom or any other location on the UCSB campus), must be compliant with the UC SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program at all times.