That modernism is steeped as much in the rituals of race as of innovation is most evident in the emergence of the music we have come to know as jazz, which results from collaborations and confrontations taking place both across and within the color line. In this course we will look at jazz and the literary representations it engendered in order to understand modern American culture. We will explore a dizzying variety of forms, including autobiography and album liner notes, biography, poetry, fiction, and cinema. We'll examine how race, gender, and class influenced the development of jazz music, and then will use jazz music to develop critical approaches to literary form. Students are not required to have a critical understanding of music. Class will involve visits from musicians and critics, as well as field trips to some of Philadelphias most vibrant jazz venues.
In a two-part post, the Penn Gazette Arts and Culture blog features music listening suggestions from various staff and faculty at the Music Department. Both Part 1 and Part 2 highlight some new and interesting summer listening suggestions.