The John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy (logo)
RSS feeds

Course Of The Month
Turn Your Radio On

Who needs textbooks when you've got FM?

By Jon Sanders

Comments

June 15, 2006

Story photo

This month CM is pleased to go to UNC-Greensboro to report on a groundbreaking "history" class. This class delves into the history of music that is up to 30 years old. That's up to three whole decades!

The course is "The History of Country Music After Elvis," and CM picks up where the UNCG student newspaper, the Carolinian, reports glowingly on the course and its professor:

A class where it is not uncommon to hear the names Randy Travis, Big & Rich and Garth Brooks. This class, facilitated by the Agriculture Department, looks not only at the history, but also the economics and politics of "new country" (country music after Elvis died).

Instructor Cory Larry originally came to UNCG to study socio-historical aspects of NASCAR but later had a mind to teach, too. His course on "new country" started in 2002.

"It was created out of my personal interest," Dr. Larry said. The "New Country Culture" class covers three main areas associated with country music: culture, economics and politics.

"There is something for everybody and everyone does well in at least one aspect of the class. My business majors do well in the economic portion, my political science majors do well in the politics portion. I'm basically here to be the guide," Larry said. "I've got a diverse bunch of students; heck, a third of 'em don't even listen to country music."

Larry shrugged off criticism about holding classes and giving college credit for something in the popular culture, readily accessible to anyone and easily understandable by anyone without university instruction.

"Shoot, I don't really teach anyway, I just guide the discussion," Larry said. "But if this is what gets people excited and pumped about learning, then I'm all for it."



Now, no doubt you're hoping that CM is making this all up. Well, for once you're right! In CM's defense, however, what you read is only a slight variation on a theme provided by UNCG with its very real African American Studies 305: Hip-Hop Culture, Economics and Politics.

From the UNCG Carolinian of April 18:

A class where it is not uncommon to hear the names Russell Simmons, Tupac and the Wu-Tang Clan. This, a class facilitated by the African American Studies department, has developed a Hip-Hop Culture, Economics and Politics course with teacher Tracey Salisbury. ... "Hip-Hop Culture" was started at UNCG in 2002.

"It was created out of my personal interest and I took it to Dr. Woods, the head of the African American Studies department," Salisbury said. The class covers three main areas associated with Hip-Hop: culture, economics and politics.

"There is something for everybody and everyone does well in at least one aspect of the class. My business majors do well in the economic portion, my political science majors do well in the politics portion. I'm basically here to be the guide," Salisbury said. ...

"The class allows students to relax and relate to other classes. I've got a diverse bunch of students; about 30 percent don't even listen to hip-hop music. ... If this is what gets people excited and pumped about learning, then I'm all for it."



The article goes on to explain that one reason to offer classes on the subject of hip-hop music was to grow and diversify the African-American Studies Dept. – a provincialism that sounded to CM like the corollary to that of the country barmaid in the movie "The Blues Brothers." You may recall her praise of her establishment's diversity of musical styles: "Oh, we got both kinds. We got country and Western!"

 


Please observe the Pope Center's commenting policy.


blog comments powered by Disqus

Return to the Course Of The Month Archive

Copyright © 2014 The John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy | Site Map

Website design and development by DesignHammer Media Group, LLC. Building Smarter Websites.