Rhythm, Blues and Rock

Please note: this is archived course information from 2022 for ANTHRO 217.


We consider aspects of African-American popular music and culture from the 1920s through the early 1960s, including styles such as blues, R ‘n B, doo-wop and early Rock ‘n’ Roll. Along the way, we examine representations of race, gender and “youth”, creativity and stylistic trends, the development of the modern popular music industry and media, and relations between the popular music industry and culture. Individual performers, recordings and performances are also examined.

In order to pass this course you will need to acquire a clear understanding of the basic trends in African-American popular music, culture and the popular music industry from 1930-1965. This includes:

  • A familiarity with the songs, artists and labels identified in lectures
  • Basic information about artists, the styles, genres and (in some cases) songs with which they are associated
  • The ways race, gender and generational identity are represented
  • Fundamentals of the popular music industry and media in the United States and that industry’s role in the production/mediation/commodification of culture
  • Developments in technology and economics that interacted with musical and industrial issues
  • The development of “youth culture” in social and industrial terms

You must demonstrate your understandings in clearly structured and well-presented writing, using standard academic English.

Availability 2022

Not taught in 2022


Lecturer(s) Associate Professor Greg Booth


Coursework + exam


ANTHRO 217: 15 points


30 points passed