Course Information
Course title: American Music and Radical Politics
Course number: MUHL4300-001/MUSI7000-025
Course discipline: Music
Course description: Music MUHL4300/MUSI7000 is a one-semester graduate-level course exploring the interactions of American music, cultural history, and radical politics across the spectrum, since the founding of the Republic.

Computer access: Since this course relies heavily on web-based activities, it is essential that students gain access to a reliable computer with Internet capabilities. If you computer is slow, doesn't support media applications, or if your Internet connection is prone to busy signals or disconnects, please schedule your day so that you can use a computer in the library. Technical problems do arise, but do yourself a favor and get acquainted with a good computer.

Please note: you the student are responsible for identifying, articulating, and seeking solutions for any computer problems you may encounter; most commonly, you can do this via the Academic Teaching and Learning Center, in the basement of the Main Library.

“Computer problems” will not be considered an acceptable excuse for late or missed assignments

Course date: Wednesday, September 1, 2004 through Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Location: M248
Meeting day(s): TR
Meeting time(s): 12:30-1:50PM
Prerequisite(s): No prerequisites; open to UG and grad students from across the campus with permission of instructor
Instructor Information
Name: Dr Christopher Smith
Office location: Music M203
Office hours: MTWR 2:00-3:30pm
Phone: 806/742-2270 x249
Biography: Find a Chris Smith Biography
Teaching assistants: As assigned.
Course Goals
Course goals: Developing familiarity with a range of social, cultural, historical, economic, and biographical factors which have shaped the the interaction of American music and radical politics since the founding of the Republic, focusing on repertoires and discourse in English. Emphasis upon understanding the interaction of “content” (musical structure, procedure, aesthetics versus radical agendas, biographies, and writing, etc) and “context” (times-places-peoples from which musical idioms and radical political movements originated). Enhance sensitivity to interactions of music and cultural history.
Required reading: No text focusing specifically on this topic currently exists. Therefore, readings will be collected in a packet (available via CopyTech).
Required reading: Listening and score excerpts will be drawn from a range of materials including Music Library holdings, CD anthologies bundled with specific textbooks, instructors’ personal material on reserve. Most listening will be made available via WebCT.
Course Requirements
Introduction: This course will include lecture, listening, discussion, readings, a mid-term and final examination, and a semester-length research project.
Requirements: Reading and listening
For each class meeting, one or more readings and one or more recordings will be assigned. Readings will be found in the Course Readings packet; primary listening material will available as mp3 files via this WebCT site. It will be essential that students complete the reading and listening assignments prior to the meeting in which they will be discussed.

Both mid-term and final examinations will be administered as qualifying-exam style essay tests. Prior to the mid-term, which will focus on reading, lecture, and listening materials, a list of 8-10 essay topics to be prepared will be distributed. On the test day, a sub-set of these topics will be distributed to students, who will then select 3-5 topics from that sub-set upon which to write essays. Essays will be expected to refer to readings, listening, and in-class discussion.

Prior to final exam, which will focus on listening materials and "bundles", a list of pieces to be recognized will be distributed. On the test day, students will be expected to identify the excerpts played, and write short essays discussing each excerpt's musical and cultural significance.

Research project:
Over the course of the semester, each student will develop a thesis, construct a bibliography, create a detailed outline, and finally assemble a "Bundle" on a research topic within our focus area. A "Bundle" will be expected to include, but would not be limited to: text descriptions, a timeline, graphic images, audio or score excerpts, a draft web-site, etc. Each student will share this research with the class in the final few weeks of the semester.


  • Exams: 35%
  • Attendance, preparation, and participation: 30%
  • Research: 35%
Introduction: The following policies are required for this class by the MUHL department and by the University
Additional information: Attendance and participation:
Because our time together in class is very limited, it is essential that we make the most efficient and constructive use of that time. Therefore, attendance is mandatory and unexcused absences will be penalized, with adverse effect on final grades.

Sexual Harassment:
This course will observe the university’s guidelines for avoiding sexual harassment. However, because the arts often imitate and represent human living and because sexuality is part of life, some materials in this course may deal with sexual behaviors, situations, or language. People offended by such subjects may want to reconsider taking this course.

Medical and other issues affecting course work:
Any student who because of a disability may require special arrangements in order to meet course requirements should contact the instructor as soon as possible to make any necessary accommodations.

Please Note: Student should present appropriate verification from AccessTECH. No requirement exists that accommodations be made prior to completion of this approved university procedure.

Attendance due to religious observance
The Texas Tech University Catalog states that a student who is absent from classses for the observance of a religious holy day will be allowed to take an examination or complete an assignment scheduled for that day within a reasonable time after the absence.

  1. "Religious holy day" means a holy day observed by a religion whose places of worship are exempt from property taxation under Section 11.20, Tax Code.
  2. A student who is excused under Section 2 may not be penalized for the absence; however, the instructor may respond appropriately if the student fails to satisfactorily complete the assignment.

Absence due to officially approved trips--The Texas Tech University Catalog states that the person responsible for a student missing class due to a trip should notify the instructors of the departure and return schedule in advance of the trip. The student may not be penalized and is responsible for the material missed.

Please note:
It is essential that any student missing a class, for an excused or unexcused absence, should promptly contact classmates and visit the course website to get class notes and catch up with missed work.

It is our experience that students who frequently miss class do poorly or fail. Any day you are late or absent, please get class notes from one or more classmates. You are responsible for knowing what is said in class, including announcements. Instructors cannot take responsibility for filling you in on what you missed.

Academic integrity:
It is the student's responsibility to know and understand Texas Tech University's policies, procedures, and penalties regarding academic integrity, as discussed in the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct. Negligence or ignorance of the policy will rarely be accepted as an excuse for violation of the policy. Cheating on examinations or plagiarism or falsification on the research project is likely to result in an F for the course.