Course Overview:

This class engages with countercultures and subcultures as they struggle against the sanctioned behaviors of mainstream 19th and 20th-century America and claim their aesthetic territory through multivalent, politically articulate
and illicit performances.

This course explores the multivalent applications, meanings, and values of American [sub]culture(s). In stark contrast to mainstream spaces of school, work, and home, subcultures create different social formations and expressions that rebel against a positivist direction. We will observe “style” and body movements as challenging ideas of respectability to assert distinctive identities. Some principal postures that will be examined in detail are: how gender, race, class, sexuality, and ethnicity are “performed” through the music, art, lyrics, and literature of the 19th and 20th-century in the United States. Following identity, we will also correlate regionalities where countercultures are invented and evolved. Additionally, we will acknowledge the role of media in reinscribing mainstream culture, but also, at times, popularizing subculture. This seminar will conduct critical screenings of documentary and mediated film and specifically engage with the Foo Fighter’s Sonic Highways series. Finally, this is an interactive class using new-media and digital platforms in a Learning Research Studio. This specialized environment supports students as they learn new technologies, create digital expressions of course topics, discuss theory and critique visualizations.

Learning Outcomes:
Students taking HUM370 will be able to:

1. Recognize the social constructions of gender, sex, race, class, ethnicity, religion, culture, and geography and engage with these lenses in assignments and discussions. Students will be able to discern inequalities created because of these constraints and identify the ramifications of “othering” to groups and individuals.

2. Identify trends, styles, movements, and sounds of mediated and live performances. Students will be able to conduct lyrical, textual, and basic-level musicology analysis to engage with counterculture creators in 19th and 20th-century America.

3. Illustrate diversified technological abilities: working knowledge of uploading, organizing, and displaying PDFS, Mp3s, Mp4s, JPGs. Students will learn how to operate the digital platforms WordPress and OMEKA and demonstrate creativity in their academic explorations of “American Culture”. Students will also practice different ways of “discussing” material through visualizations, comments, and tags utilizing the technology of the Learning Resource Room.

4. Communicate effectively and professionally as scholars in groups and individually as discussion leaders and/or participants in class.

5. Demonstrate advanced sentence structure, verbiage, grammar, and “voice” for the appropriate venue—whether that be for writing blog posts and comments, virtual communication, or in formal essays.

6. Conduct basic Media Specific Analysis and display basic competency in Digital Humanities techniques regarding image analyzation.