Geography of 1960s Rock and Roll – Dr. David Keeling, spring 2014 (HON GEOG 475)

  • GEOG 430 / 475 / 530
  • Honors section: HON GEOG 475-503 (CRN 39757)
  • Wednesdays, 4-7.10pm, EST 260
  • Please note: Course will not meet on Wed, Jan 29; first meeting on Wed, Feb 5

rock eras

This course focuses on the relationship between popular music as a form of social expression and the cultural/political/economic development of cities, countries, and meta-regions in the 1960s. The key element of the course is an examination of spatial patterns in the evolution and diffusion of rock and roll music both within and between countries. We study the ethnic-cultural roots of contemporary popular music and trace the evolution of English-language popular music from its beginnings in urban society. Drawing on a combination of videos, slides, recorded music performances, and readings, we examine the multi-directional relationships between politics and popular culture, between economic development and popular culture, and between national social identity and popular culture. Musical examples provide a comparative point of reference for discussions about the global pervasiveness of English-language popular music, its power to shape people and places, and its economic impact in the world economy.


** Required textbook available at the College Bookstores:
Jim Curtis (1987) Rock Eras: Interpretations of Music and Society 1954-1984. University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 978-0-87972-369-9 paperback
*** Other selected readings will be made available during the semester.

** Student Assessment: A midterm review (30%), a short Research Paper (20%), a Final Review (30%), and Attendance, Quizzes, and Participation (20%).
** Graduate and Honors students, in addition to the above requirements, are required to do EITHER a book review OR a detailed analysis of an assigned research article.

** All students should use their WKU email accounts and must be prepared to access and “explore” both digital and printed material online or in the library.
** NOTE: The Department of Geography & Geology strictly adheres to the course drop policy found in the Undergraduate and Graduate catalogs. It is the sole responsibility of individual students to meet the cited deadlines for dropping a course. In exceptional cases the deadline for schedule changes (dropping a course) may be waived. The successful waiver will require a written description of extenuating circumstances and relevant documentation. Poor academic performance, general malaise, or undocumented general stress factors are NOT considered legitimate extenuating circumstances. Since the granting of such waivers is rare, we urge you to follow the established guidelines.

** This course requires a commitment of 3.10 hours of class time each Wednesday night plus 5 hours of outside reading and research every week. Attendance and participation are crucial in this course and 20% of the grade comprises these components. If you don’t attend, you can’t participate! Unexcused (undocumented) absences will affect the final grade negatively. Any absence MUST be communicated to the professor before the scheduled class and MUST be documented by the next class period. All papers, assignments, and other materials must be completed ON TIME in order to pass the course.

** Please make every effort to come to class on time. The class ends at 7:10 pm, so do not begin packing up materials until the appropriate time as it disturbs other students. Those students who attend regularly generally get more from the course than students who miss class.

Course Outline and Reading Assignments

** NOTE: The course begins on Wednesday February 5th (IT DOES NOT MEET on Jan 28th).

Week One: W – 2/5/14
Part I: Introduction: The Development of Folk and Popular Culture and Music Part II: Theory and Concepts in the Geography of Music
Read: Text pp. 1-35

WeekTwo:W -2/12 .
Part I:.Delta Blues, Migration, and the Birth of Modern Rock Music Part II: Political and social musical contexts for 1960
Read: Text pp. 38-82

Week Three: W – 2/19
Part I: Social Protest, the Folk Movement, and Geopolitical Change in the Cold War. Part II: Political and social musical contexts for 1961
Read: Text pp. 83-110

Week Four: W – 2/26
Part I: Europe in the early 1960s
Part II: Political and social musical contexts for 1962 Read: Text pp. 83-110

Week Five: W 3/5
Part I: Political and Social musical contexts for 1963 Part II: First MIDTERM Exam.
Read – Review text pp. 1-110

Week Six: W 3/12 SPRING BREAK Week Seven: W 3/19

Part 1. Social and political Change in Britain early 1960s Part II: Political and Social Contexts for 1964
Read: Text pp. 111-147
Week Eight: W. 3/26

Part 1: Video Analysis of “A Hard Day’s Night.” Part II: Political and Social Contexts for 1965 Read: Text pp. 148-190

Week Nine: W 4/2/2014
Part 1. War and Society
Part II. Political and Social Contexts for 1966 Read: Text pp. 148-190

Week Ten: W 4/9/2014
Part I. The Resurgence of an African Social Identity in Music/Detroit Part II: Political and Social Contexts for 1967
Read: Text pp. 191-199

Week Eleven: W 4/16.
Part I: The Revolution Begins at a global scale Part II: Political and Social Contexts for 1968 Read: Text pp. 191-199

Week Twelve: W 4/23 .
Part I: Global Revolution – The Birth of Heavy Metal Part II: Political and Social Contexts for 1968
Read: Text pp. 200-226

Week Thirteen: W 4/30
Part I: Music, Politics, and Sexual Identity – The Woodstock Generation
Part II: Political and Social Contexts for 1969
NOTE: Research Paper Due Wednesday 4/30/14 – NO LATE PAPERS ACCEPTED

Week Fourteen: W 5/7/2014
Part 1. A post-Woodstock Generation – Sucking in the ‘70s? Part II: What’s it all been about?
Read: Text pp. 227-240

Week Fifteen W – FINAL EXAM, May 14th, 4 – 6 pm.
NOTE: No Makeups or Alternative Times Available for the Final Exam.

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