Country music has been part of American popular culture for close to 100 years. From the fiddle tunes and blue yodels of the 1920s to the Americana revival and “hick-hop” of today, music associated with rural American life has fascinated and entertained. Moreover—despite its roots in obscure, rural Southern and Western folk song—country music has become one of the most commercially successful music styles of the past decade.
In this introductory-level elective course, students will cultivate critical thinking and analysis skills through the study of country music’s historical development. Following a detailed examination of the genre’s formation and popular trajectory over the course of the twentieth century, the course concludes with a thorough investigation of the cultural, social and musical implications of country music’s 21st-century resurgence.