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First-Year Writing Seminar: Musical Subcultures

Semester and Year FA 2018
Course Number FIRST-UG413
Section 001
Instructor Amanda Petrusich
Days TR
Time 4:55 PM - 6:10 PM
Units 4
Level U


Open to Gallatin first-year students only.


The American musical landscape is now comprised of many self-contained factions, subcultures that exist and thrive independent of mainstream culture and operate according to their own ideologies and rules. In this first-year writing seminar, we’ll consider the best ways for music journalists to define and reveal these communities on the page. What exactly defines a subculture, musical or otherwise? What happens when certain sounds are co-opted by the mainstream? As writers, how do we look past preexisting archetypes and our own presumptions regarding certain movements and their fans? Do we keep an objective distance or fully submit ourselves to the experience, participating as we document? Students will explore, study, infiltrate, and report on several musical subcultures—web-based or otherwise—of their choosing, submitting four 1,500-2,000 word essays. Readings will include Chuck Klosterman, Joan Didion, John Jeremiah Sullivan, Sara Marcus, Laina Dawes, Kent Russell, and more.


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Course Type

First-Year Program: Writing Seminars (FIRST-UG)