History of Rock and Roll [CRN 29384]

Discipline: Music
Instructor: Harnish
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 1100
End: 1220
Field Work: Day 1 | January 24, 2018 | Japan
Prerequisites: None Download Syllabus

This course begins with a historical overview of developments of rock and roll musics since the 1950s and covers significant artists, styles, and the industry while developing analytical and listening skills. We then explore the rock and popular musics in the countries on the itinerary. Students learn about the rock styles that have developed in the ports of call, how and why select artists and associated industries have formulated those musics, and how globalization and mass-media make those musics both global and local. Students identify distinctions between the rock musics in these cultures, discuss scholarly ethnographies, explore the hybrid formations linking local traditions and global sounds and the resulting music scenes, and acquire a foundation on music and globalization, gender, transnationalism, politics, religion, and historical issues. Students also learn the tools and techniques that inform ethnographic field research, apply this knowledge “in the field,” participate in and lead class discussions, master pertinent materials and ideas, and complete an original field research project.

Field Work

Country: Japan
Day: 1
Date: January 24, 2018

Rock music really developed in Japan during the 1960s and select clubs began to open for local and touring artists. The bands mostly emulated global/American rock styles but a had local and loyal cliental and incorporated local sensibilities, and the music and dance scenes that developed mirrored the group dynamics of Japanese communities. Over time, the styles varied until the Japanese popular/rock music industry became the second largest and one of the most complex in the world.

This class will tour rock clubs in Kobe, particularly the famous Chicken George, and attend performances at one or more live houses to directly experience a local clubbing scene that is explicitly Japanese. The scenes at these clubs are both underground and mainstream, and they serve as communities for marginalized, working class, and white collar clients. We will meet and interact with club owners and staff, music and dance fans of the given bands/clubs, and perhaps with musicians.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Understand and experience the history of rock music in Japan
2. Discover the place, meanings and purpose of rock in Japan
2. Witness rock scenes firsthand, and reflect on issues of class, gender and identity in contemporary Japan

Field Class Reflection (3-5 pages). This paper should include analyses of the music performances (elements, instruments, bands, histories, etc.), of performers (gender, dress, behavior), of club fans, and of the scenes - involving class, youth, gender, sexuality and identity in modern Japan. Include personal experiences of attending the clubs and reflections about the role of popular musics in Japan.