Graduate Liberal Studies Program

Course Description

GLS 592: Cultural Studies in Music: The Legacy of Legends

Instructor: Mika Elovaara

As the title of this course suggests, this course is a study of the legends of rock music and their influences to other artists and society. The primary focus of the course will be on the lives and work of popular music personalities who have passed away and left a legacy to individual artists and the culture of music. Among the list of candidates for study are Woody Guthrie, John Lennon, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Tupac Shakur, Johnny Cash, Joe Strummer, and James Brown. With each individual artist, we will study his/her autobiography or an authoritative biography, looking more closely into the personal life and career of the artist in question and investigating the connections between the artists' life experiences and their career development, but also focus on the music and lyrics of the artist, studying their themes and messages and the influences they have had on the work of other musicians as well as on society as a whole. The course assignments consist of studying the biographies and the lyrics of selected artists and doing independent research on an artist chosen by each student individually.

This is the first time this class will be taught online. Developing online courses is consistent with the university's goal to remain up to date in contemporary pedagogical progress and to make higher education available to a wide student population. While the online environment will obviously make our class interaction different from the traditional on-campus classes, it is imperative that the students understand that consistent and continuous interaction is still at the heart of successful class dynamics regardless of the possible learning environment and medium.

Completing the course successfully requires being able to use the internet throughout the semester and owning a webcam, speakers, and a microphone to interact with the instructor and your fellow students.

The course starts on Thursday, August 25th, when the course syllabus and the first learning module for the class will be available for the students through Blackboard Learn ( Prior to starting the class, the students are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with Blackboard through tutorials or with the helpful staff at UNCW ITSD and TAC.

Tentative Reading list:

- Brown, James. The Godfather of Soul - an Autobiography

- Cash, Johnny with Patrick Carr. Johnny Cash - the Autobiography

- Cross, Charles R. Heavier than Heaven - A Biography of Kurt Cobain

- D'Ambrosio, Antonino Let Fury Have the Hour -- The Punk Rock Politics of Joe Strummer

- Friedman, Myra. Buried Alive - Janis Joplin, the Biography

- Kane, Larry. Lennon Revealed

- Klein, Joe. Woody Guthrie: A Life

- White, Timothy. Catch A Fire - The Life of Bob Marley (The definitive edition - revised and updated)

Last Update:June 1, 2011