English 166AC

Special Topics in American Cultures: Race and Performance in the 20th-Century U.S.

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2008 Saul, Scott
Saul, Scott
MWF 11-12 102 Moffitt

Other Readings and Media

Wesley Brown, Darktown Strutters (1994) Angela Davis, Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude 'Ma' Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday (1998) Jessica Hagedorn, Dogeaters (1990) James Weldon Johnson, Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man Much of the reading materials are found in the course packet, the first volume of which can be picked up at University Copy Service (2425 Channing Way).


"This course is two courses wrapped up in one. First, it offers a selected history of major innovations in American popular culture of the last hundred years ? from the origins of the American culture industries in blackface minstrelsy, ragtime, and jazz to the development of the Hollywood studio system, rock 'n' roll, soul music, and the ""New Hollywood"". Second, it tells that first very large story through America's unique history of crossracial and crossethnic interplay. Why, we might ask, is the story of the US so often told through stories of interracial dependency or conflict, whether it's the story of American colonists dressing up as Indians at the Boston Tea Party, Little Eva blessing Uncle Tom, or Elvis or Eminem borrowing from the 'other side of the tracks'? Following this line of inquiry, we will trace America's history through the development of structures of inequity and opportunity that define our social history, and through the development of complicated race-inflected stories of camaraderie, rivalry, beset virtue, and desire that often define our national fantasy life."

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