Freshman Seminar


Course Syllabus Fall 2011

Instructor: Patricia A. Dixon


          In this course we explore the music of protest in the continents of the Americas from the early 20’s to the present, focusing on the social movements and artists that led the voices of dissent.  We also examine the relationship of the United States with Latin America during and after the Cold War, and the events that shaped musical expression in both continents.

The course will expand on the new information age technologies and how they affect political and social activism, from shaping our electoral systems to creating awareness of global issues. We study how music is an integral dimension of human behavior with the power to move masses and create dialogue in society, a true weapon of political power.

Course Goals

1. To listen to music attentively and examine the poetic and lyrical meaning of the texts.
2. To broaden the understanding of musical expression through different cultural identities
3. To explore the historical events in the Americas that led to music of dissent and struggle.
4. To understand the roles of music in society and explore what makes this music powerful.
5. To understand the role of the artist in society.
6. To understand popular music, political action and power.
7. To see how music is an integral dimension to human behavior and liberal arts scholarship.

Course Objectives

1. To engage in critical, experiential, contemplative and reflexive analysis of the material.
2. To express your thoughts clearly and creatively orally and in writing. 
3. Be better prepared to discuss the power of music in society.
4. To understand how music defines cultural and personal identity.
5. To understand music of dissent in the context of political and social movements in the Americas.
6. Better understand the relationship of the United States in Latin America in the areas of politics, economics, culture, and ideology.
7.   To understand how collective identities are formed by the mobilization of traditions through the arts.  
8. To go beyond the linear approach to learning by emphasizing reflective, experiential and contemplative methods of learning.


Meeting Times and Location 

The class will meet twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:30 to 1:45,  in room 307 in the Scales Fine Arts Center, Music Wing. 


Class Format 

Much of how this class unfolds (and it will) depends on you and your particular interests. You need to be an active participant in determining what happens to you this semester.  (Those are code words for “class participation.”) I will expect 100% of your attention in class, and we will begin each session with a period of silence to prepare the mind to engage in the learning process.

Freshman Seminars are designed to develop basic learning skills for life through critical thinking. In this class you will also be taught how to develop other ways of learning, through contemplative, reflexive and experiential practices.  Even though I have provided you with a complete syllabus, there will undoubtedly be many diversions, elisions, and additions.  The best things that happen for us this semester will surely be unplanned. I will expect you to use all your academic skills and emotional strengths to force you and your peers to see and hear in new unexpected ways.

I will draw freely from a wide range of sources. You should too. Be independent. USE THE SOURCES I PROVIDE YOU TO FIND OTHER USEFUL MATERIAL!


Course Requirements

Class attendance and informed participation are essential elements for success.  You are expected to arrive IN TIME to class, having completed the readings assigned for that day. We will set aside a time in each session, to share your contributions based on the readings for that day. These may include images (photos and art), music, poetry, and excerpts from literature that relate to the era we are studying. Laptop computers can only be used in classrooms for note taking and other academic purposes as designated by the instructor.

Required book: Music and Social Movements by Ron Eyerman and Andrew Jamison. Cambridge University Press (1998) ISBN 0- 521 62966

Acting in Concert by Mark Mattern. ISBN 0-8135-2484




Grading will be based on the prompt completion of all assignments, participation in class, teamwork, writing and oral skills, and attendance.

Attendance, and class participation ……………… = 10%

Assignments ………………………………………= 70%

Final Project …………...………… ……………… = 20%


NOTE: More than three absences will have a negative impact on your grade.

Perfect attendance is required to achieve an A in this course. A=Superior work


Recordings, Videos, Films, use of technology materials


Recordings will be available in the Music Library, and you will also be expected to find recordings and videos on the Internet to use in class. Videos will be on reserve at the Main Library and in the Music Library.  Technology software: Voicethread, will be used for certain assignments, training will be provided. A flip camera with a microphone is available for use in assignments if anyone needs it.

The course will be managed in SAKAI where you will find resources for research and other services, such as submitting your assignment checking grades and access to library research page designed for this course.

Work Schedule Fall 2011

FYS - Music of Protest


Week One

8/30 Classes Begin

9/1 Introduction:

Student introductions and teacher’s expectations for the semester. Attendance, grading, group projects and individual projects.


Week Two

9/6 Music Interacting with Culture

Reading: Chapter 1 Popular Music and Community Mattern. Pages 9-23.


Lecture: Background Historical Information: Defining a Protest Song



9/8 Reading: Chapter 1 On Social Movements and Culture Eyerman/Jamison pages 6-25.


What is Roots Music?

DVD The Roots of American Music

First and Second Period


Week Three

9/13 Music Power and Politics

Reading: Popular Music, Political Action and Power, Mattern. Pages 25-36.


The American Communist Party: Music Building Community in the 20’s and 30’s. Woody Guthrie and Unionism


9/15 Reading: Taking Traditions Seriously Eyerman/Jamison Chapter 2 Pages 26-37.


DVD The Power of Song Pete Seeger Part 1


Discussion of First Group Assignment

Topics and Essays


Week Four

9/20 Music and Traditions

Reading: Taking Traditions Seriously Eyerman/Jamison Chapter 2 pages 37-47.


DVD The power of Music Pete Seeger Part 2




Presentation of First Group Assignment


Week Five

9/27 The Civil Rights Movement

Reading: The Movements of Black Music: from the New Negro to the Civil Rights. Eyerman/Jamison Chapter 4 Pages 74-96


DVD “Negros with Guns” 53 min.

Film Discussion in class

9/29 Reading: The Movements of Black Music: from the New Negro to the Civil Rights. Eyerman/Jamison Chapter 4 Pages 96-105

DVD Roots of American Music –3 and 4  Periods

The Highlander School in Tennessee,  The Freedom Singers, James Brown and others


Week Six

10/l4 The Folk Revival Movement and Vietnam

The Proletarian Renascence:  The Folkness of the Ideological Folk Article by R. Serge Denisoff

Singers and Activism

Phil Ochs, Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Ray Charles, Peter Paul and Mary, Simon and Garfunkel, Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan


10/6 Reading: “Eyerman/Jamison. Chapter 5 Politics and Music in the 1960’s 106-124


Class discussion on musical taste and consumption, racial conditions in performance conditions, social movements in transition, forms of cultural capital and mass mediated reality.

Homework  DVD 1512 Monterey Pop Festival


 Week Seven

10/11 Sixties Rock, Psychedelics  and Sex

Reading: “Eyerman/Jamison. Chapter 5  Politics and Music in the 1960’s pages 124-139.


The Beatles and the impact of John Lennon

DVD “Imagine” and its repercussions

Discussion of Second Assignment

10/13 Mid Term Assignments

Presentations in class


Reading: Seeger and Sprinsteen and American Folk Music by David Thurmaier PDF


Week Eight

10/18 The New Song Movement


Reading: Chapter 3 Popular Music and Democratic Politics in Chile, 1960-1973 by Mattern.

Violeta Parra and Victor Jara


Midterm- Second  Essay Due

10/20 Canto Nuevo Musical Expressions

Reading: Resistance and re democratization after the 1973 Coup Chapter 4 Mattern

Victor Jara’s Death


DVD: Defeat of a Dictator by Steve York Video recording.


Week Nine

10/25 Mid Term Class Evaluation

Course Assessment: Results of midterm course evaluation


Lecture on Contemplative Inquiry.

Reflection Assignment


10/27 Latin America in the Global Scene: Music in Exile

Music Listening from New Song to Nueva Trova to Tropicalismo


DVD Special Circumstances

Discussion of Third Assignment


Week Ten

11/1 United States Protest Music in the Global Stage.

Reading: Understanding Mega-Events: If we are the World, Then How Do We Change it? Rocking the Boat by Reebee Garofalo .

11/3 Third Assignment

Group Presentations

Mega Events in the 70’s and Mega Events Today


Each group presents an event


Week Eleven

11 /8 Bruce Springsteen in the Global Scene

Reading: Finding Grace in the Concert Hall by Linda K. Randall. Foreword, Introduction and Chapter I-II and III

Class Discussion

Topic Community Building

11/10 Reading: Finding Grace in the Concert Hall By Linda Randall Chapters IV-V and  VI


Student’s contributions in class: Technology and Activism in Today’s society.


Week Twelve

11/22 Reading: Finding Grace in the Concert Hall Randall Chapters VII and VIII and Conclusion


Student’s contributions in class: Music and Personal Transformation




Week Thirteen

11/29 Final Assignments

Choose one of four projects to present in class;

Individual projects

1.Write and present your own protest song, with an essay describing the creative process

2.  Write an 8 page essay on a topic of your choice

Group Projects

3. Present a debate around the topic of Music and Political Power. Does music change the world?

4. Produce a song of protest with a group, record it, and publish in You Tube

12/1 Student’s  Presentations


Week Fourteen

11/6 Student’s  Presentations

11/9 Student’s  Presentations