Course Description for Spring 2020 - Gender and Sexuality in Black Popular Music:
This course will consider how gender and sexuality as analytical categories can illuminate complex issues in various genres of black popular music. Black popular music genres (blues, jazz, soul, funk, R&B, hip hop, reggae, contemporary gospel, and more) have become a major force in the American and international music scene. These various genres of African American origins have been performed by people with a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds all over the world. Music videos, especially in hip hop, often display women's bodies as mere sexual objects, which legitimizes violence against women. In addition, the music industry has been largely dominated by cis-gendered, heterosexual men. What does "black" mean in the context of popular music? Why are disturbing, sexualized images of women so common and popular? How have minority groups such as women, non-heterosexual, and transgender artists carved out their places in black popular music in recent years? We will examine these issues through critical analysis of academic/journalistic writings, music, music videos, and films. Topics to be discussed will include: disability and black popular music, homosexuality in contemporary gospel music, violence against women and misogyny in rap music, hypersexuality and feminism in black female artists, black masculinity in hop hop culture, musical borrowing and cultural appropriation, transgender artists in black music, and women in the #blacklivesmatter movement. Non-music majors are encouraged to take this class (no music prerequisites).
The planned operational modality for this class is REMOTE. For more information please visit http://www.provost.pitt.edu/students/student-success-flexpitt/flex-pitt-guarded-risk-posture-all-students-remote/