This writing-intensive course will examine popular music as one of many ways in which reading musical form can be a form of resistance in a certain historical-cultural tradition. We will treat songs as texts by close examination of lyrics, by developing an ear for musical tone and tempo, and by understanding music as a form of cultural expression and resistance. My goal for you is to come away from this class knowing how to critically think, how to translate critical thinking into critical writing, and how to write persuasive sentences, paragraphs, and essays, all through the music that has shaped the cultural landscape of this country.

I focus English 101 on developing reading, writing, and critical thinking skills to prepare you for future academic writing. We will listen to songs written for political purposes and read essays about singers, songwriters, and the political change that they wanted to effect in the hopes that you will develop critical listening and writing skills along the way. These skills are invaluable for you future academic endeavors, thus attendance and participation are two key components to your success in class. And developing solid research skills will keep you from any problems with plagiarism.


It is your responsibility to keep up with the readings and songs for each week. You will find the blog on the class website https://protestsongfall2012.wordpress.com/ I expect you to write a 150-word maximum response to the reading/ song(s) for the next day on our blog, to be posted by midnight before each class session. We will discuss the questions and concerns raised in the blog posts for the next class.

You will also write four essays. The essays are broadly categorized as 1) textual analysis essay, in which you will examine closely the text of a song or group of songs for critical evaluation, 2) text in-context essay, in which you will examine a song or group of songs in historical context, 3) cultural analysis essay, in which you will evaluate and analyze broader cultural claims for a song or group of songs, and 4) a final research essay. Further information on essay assignments is posted on our course website, and you will learn in class how to formulate topics and write essays for each of the outlined essay types. Rough drafts are counted in the final grade listed below, so it is in your best interest to come prepared with a full working draft on workshop days. I will collect rough drafts at the end of class and give you feedback for your final essays two classes before the final is due. If you fail to turn in any of the above, you will automatically receive a failing grade for the course. Half of your grade for each of these assignments will be based on preparation of drafts leading to the final draft. Extensions for papers are not allowed. If you know that you will be out of town the day a paper is due, turn it in via email before 8:30am on the Tuesday or Thursday that it is due.