MUS 201: American Ethnicities and Popular Song

Affiliation

Name: David Crook
SCID: College of Letters & Science
Department: Mead Witter School of Music
Course Name: MUS 201: American Ethnicities and Popular SongCourse Objectives:
CO1: analyze American popular songs, in their social and historical contexts, to facilitate understanding of the construction of race and ethnicity in the United States
CO2: recognize the use of popular song in the creation and perpetuation of ethnic and racial stereotypes and question the assumptions supporting such use
CO3: through the study of popular song, understand and challenge the process of cultural appropriation
CO4: through the study of song criticism, develop ways of listening and speaking that evince both knowledge of, and sensitivity toward, the experiences of marginalized groupsCourse Units:
CU1: Blackface Minstrelsy
CU2: The Sound of Indian
CU3: Music and the Spanish-American War: Imperialism and the Exotic
CU4: Yellowface Theater
CU5: How the Irish Became White
CU6: Defining America Musically: A Bohemian View
CU7: Strange Fruit and the Legacy of Lynching
CU8: Marian Anderson, Louis Armstrong, and American Cold-War Diplomacy
CU9: Music as Torture in the Global War on TerrorismUnit Objectives:
Unit 7 Objectives (UO) | Unit 7 Title: Strange Fruit and the Legacy of Lynching
UO1: Recall specific factual information concerning the history of lynching in the United States.
UO2: Analyze the parallels that critics have drawn between Jim Crow-era lynching and the shooting of unarmed black men by police officers in our own time.
UO3: Identify specific ways in which Black people have used Abel Meeropol’s song Strange Fruit both to honor the victims of lynching and to critique the oppression of Black people in general.
UO4: Analyze two case studies involving White people speaking and writing about the meaning of Strange Fruit and lynching.
UO5: Extrapolate from the case studies a set of recommendations for people who seek to address American culture in ways that evince both knowledge of, and sensitivity toward, the experiences of black people in the United States.

Activity One

Activity:
Description: Read Feliks Garcia, “Police Brutality Is Modern Lynching—And You May Be Part of It,” The Daily Dot, www.dailydot.com [976 words]; and Leon Litwack, “Hellhounds” [introductory essay that provides historical overview of lynching in the U.S.], in Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America (2000), 8–37.
Modality: Online
Activity Sequence: Pre-class, Day 1
Required Knowledge: none
Time on Task: 1 hour
Objectives Supported: 1, 2
Horton Type: Absorb
Bloom’s Level: knowledge – remember
Evidence: pre-class quiz (activity 2); in-class discussion (activity 3); post-class essay
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Activity Two

Activity:
Description: Quiz on content of Litwack reading
Modality: Online
Activity Sequence: Pre-class, Day 1
Required Knowledg: Content of Litwack essay
Time on Task: 10-15 minutes
Objectives Supported: 1
Horton Type: Do
Bloom’s Level: Knowledge – remember
Evidence: score on the quiz
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Activity Three

Activity:Discussion in pairs (or entire class together?)
Description:Prompt: “On the basis of what you’ve learned from Litwack about the history of lynching in the United States, evaluate Garcia’s equation of present-day police brutality with historical lynching. Make a list of the ways in which they are similar and a list of ways in which they are different.”
Modality: Face-to-face
Activity Sequence: In-class, Day 1
Required Knowledge: Content of Garcia and Litwack essays
Time on Task: 30 minutes
Objectives Supported: 2
Horton Type: Do
Bloom’s Level: Analyze and Evaluate
Evidence: Post-class micro-essay (Activity 4)
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Activity Four

Activity: Micro-essay
Description: (500 words): “Is Police Brutality Modern Lynching?”
Modality: Online
Activity Sequence: Post-class, Day 1
Required Knowledge: Content of Garcia and Litwack essays and relationship between them
Time on Task: 40 minutes
Objectives Supported: 2
Horton Type: Do
Bloom’s Level: Analyze and EvaluateEvidence:
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Activity Five

Activity:
Description: View Strange Fruit, documentary film, dir. Joel Katz, 2000
Modality: Online
Activity Sequence: Pre-class, Day 2
Required Knowledge: none
Time on Task: 57 minutes
Objectives Supported: 1
Horton Type: Absorb
Bloom’s Level: Knowledge – Remember (but also implicitly earlier Litwack essay compare/analyze)
Evidence: pre-class micro-essay
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