English R1B

Reading and Composition: note new topic: Vaudeville Blues and the Harlem Renaissance

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
8 Fall 2013 Sullivan, Khalil
TTh 8-9:30 225 Wheeler

Book List

DuBois, W.E.B.: Souls of Black Folk; Hughes, Langston: The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes; Miller, Karl Hagstrom: Segregating Sound; Van Vechten, Carl: Nigger Heaven

Other Readings and Media

Audio recordings from the period (optional); selections from Paul Allen Anderson's Deep River: Music and Memory in the Harlem Renaissance (optional)


Karl Miller's text Segregating Sound offers readings of previously unavailable record label archival material that gives us a revised reading of the U.S. popular recording industry and its marketing of racial categories and hierarchies.  We'll read his text alongside blues poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and Vaudeville Blues songs from the 1920s in order to investigate arguments used by artists and race leaders who used art as a vehicle for social change or a vehicle to make a quick buck.  Additionally, we must recognize the pervasive influence and mythology of "free market" capitalism, particularly as private companies restrict and regulate certain bodies' and voices' access to archival materials.  If race tyrannizes the visual, how did the practices and criticisms of record labels, artists, and race leaders about Vaudeville Blues, popular, and "folk" music support or destabilize this tyranny?

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