Spring 2022

Writing Through Popular Music

Listed in: Music, as MUSI-104


Jason Robinson (Section 01)


This course will introduce students to important concepts in effective academic writing by thinking about and thinking through popular music. Our complex relationships to popular music confront us with a host of challenging social, cultural, political, and ethical issues. How do we use music to construct, maintain, or challenge private and public identities? How are race, gender, class, sexuality, and the nation constructed through popular music? What is the role of music in our everyday lives? How do concepts of intellectual property, new technologies and forms of musical creativity, and commercial interests influence the music that we listen to? Thinking critically about these issues will refine students’ writing, and writing well about these issues will refine students’ thinking. These questions, among others, will generate a series of assignments designed to encourage students to develop clear and persuasive writing styles. As an intensive writing course, we will focus on fundamentals of writing style, grammatical accuracy, thesis development, and research methodologies crucial to successful written communication. We will use weekly reading assignments drawn from the field of popular music studies to frame and debate important issues emanating from global popular music cultures and to provide models of successful written scholarship. Peer review and a strong focus on editing and revising will be central to the course. Students will also be encouraged to take advantage of the resources of the Writing Center.

Students admitted in consultation with the Office of Student Affairs and/or their academic adviser. Preference given to first-year students. Limited to 12 students. Professor Robinson. Spring semester. 

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: emphasis on written work and readings. Assignments will include short, carefully constructed written work, often followed by revising projects. Coursework concludes with an essay assignment that takes place across several weeks. Students with documented disabilities who will require accommodations in this course should be in consultation with Accessibility Services and reach out to the faculty member as soon as possible to ensure that accommodations can be made in a timely manner.


2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2019, Spring 2021, Spring 2022