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Course Number: AAST 300-001 AAST 300-002 Day/Time: MTWTF 9:45-11:30 MTWTF 11:45-1:30 Location: 207 Maybank Hall 002 Robert Scott Small
Office Location: 427 JC Long Bldg. (That’s on Liberty St. across from the cafeteria) Office Phone: (843) 953-1991
Office Hours: By appointment Email: email@example.com Cell Phone: (843) 709-0393 - (TEXT ONLY)
“A certain administration which I won't call by name took the arts out of the schools, and that left the brothers out on the street with nothing, so they went to the turntables and started rhyming. Then they had a way to express themselves, and that's the birth of hip-hop.” --Isaac Hayes, actor and activist “The thing about hip-hop is that it's from the underground, ideas from the underbelly, from people who have mostly been locked out, who have not been recognized.” --Russell Simmons, founder of Def Jam Records “Hip-hop is supposed to uplift and create, to educate people on a larger level and to make a change.” --Doug E. Fresh, rapper “Hip-hop is definitely not what it used to be, which was creative, original music.” “Hip-hop is dead.” --Missy Elliot, rapper --Nas, rapper
“I'm fascinated by rap and by hip-hop. I think there's a lot of poetry in it. There's a lot of anger, a lot of social energy in it. And I think you'd better listen to it pretty carefully, 'cause it's important.” --John Kerry, US Senator and former Presidential Candidate “The thing about hip-hop today is it's smart, it's insightful. The way they can communicate a complex message in a very short space is remarkable.” --President Barack Obama Course Introduction: This course will examine the history, content, legacy, and controversy of the music known as Hip-Hop. It will begin with a historical analysis that seeks to understand how the artistic expression of the ignored American underclass has evolved into unimaginable economic success with a worldwide cultural impact in only four decades. We will then begin to analyze the content of the music. Far from being simply the frustrated rantings of the urban poor, Hip-Hop music simultaneously reflects and influences the way that American youth view politics, capitalism, sexuality, education, racial stereotypes, and gender roles. Along the way, we will also address the various controversies that have arisen around the music, including criticism of its attitude toward women, violence, homosexuality, and educational achievement. This course will combine scholarship and theory with considerable audio and video exposure to various HipHop songs and artists.
It should be noted that this course is neither an apology for nor an indictment of Hip-Hop. Instead of approaching the music with preconceived notions, we will attempt to objectively analyze its evolution, its content, and its cultural impact. Required Texts:
1. Tricia Rose, Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America (1994) 2. Tricia Rose, The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop and Why It 3. Craig Watkins, Hip Hop Matters: Politics, Pop Culture, and the Struggle for the Soul of a
Matters (2008) Movement (2006) - NOTE: THIS eBOOK IS AVAILABLE ONLINE FOR FREE THROUGH THE CofC LIBRARY WEBSITE. 4. Selected readings, audio, and visual materials from various other sources The textbooks can be either purchased at the College Bookstore or ordered online. All required material that does not appear in the two textbooks will be available on the WebCT site for the course. The WebCT site will be an integral part of this course, so make sure that you understand how to access it and use its various functions. Course Grading Scheme: Your grade is based on a total of 100 points. Assignments will be graded as such. For example, your Final Exam may be graded as 25/30 points. Extra Credit points will be added to your final point total, but grades will not be allowed to exceed 100 points. For example, a student with a point total of 96 and 5 Extra Credit points will still have a final grade of 100. All assignments must be completed on time. Excused absences are required to make up missed assignments; however, Extra Credit opportunities can not be made up under any circumstances. Detailed information about all assignments can be found at the end of this syllabus. Assignment Class Participation Hip-Hop Journal “Spread the Word” Project Final Exam Extra Credit Due Date N/A Every Friday Aug 2 Aug 4 OR Aug 5 N/A Point Value 10 Points 40 Points 25 Points 25 Points 10 Extra Points
The grading scale for this class will be as follows: 100-90 (A); 89-86 (B+); 85-80 (B); 79-76 (C+); 75-70 (C); 69-60 (D); 59 and below (F) Class Rules: 1. Be on time! We have a lot to cover in only 5 short weeks, so the sooner we can get started the better. Also, some Extra Credit opportunities and discussions of current events will ONLY take place during the first few minutes of class. If you arrive late, you will have missed these opportunities, and NO makeups will be given! 2. Do the reading assignments! Class discussion can not work if you don’t know what you’re talking about, so review and follow your syllabus each week. This class will move so quickly that failing to read and listen at home will almost surely keep you from doing well in this course. 3. Participate! Class discussion also can not work if you don’t participate in class. Show me that you have done the readings by engaging in meaningful discussions with your classmates. Since participation counts for 10 points of your grade, this will benefit you as well as everyone else. 4. Respect everyone’s opinion! In this course, we will deal with very sensitive topics like race, sexuality, sexual preference, etc. The class will likely be composed of students from diverse racial, ethnic, religious, and class backgrounds. Each student will thus approach the topics from a unique vantage point. While comments may be made this semester that are difficult for you to hear and/or understand, it is important to respond to them calmly and on intellectual, rather than personal grounds. Remember, the goal is to learn from each other, not to attack each other.
5. Ask questions! There is no such thing as a stupid question. If you are thinking it, then other students are also thinking it; they just don’t have the guts to ask it first. Your questions will help me to further organize and streamline the course for future semesters. 6. Come to office hours! I have designated time each week to address your needs, so use it. I am always happy to discuss your progress in the course or any anxieties that you may be feeling about the readings and/or the assignments. I encourage you to come to me BEFORE you begin to fall behind in the course. Don’t wait until finals time to tell me that you do not understand something. If you let me know earlier, then I can help you earlier. 7. Turn off your cell phone! We all forget sometimes (even me), but please try to minimize ringtones and other distractions during class time. 8. Have fun! I will try to make the course as exciting as possible, so try to stay awake! College Policies: ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: Scholastic dishonesty will not be tolerated and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent. You are expected to have read and understood the current issue of the student handbook (published by Student Services) regarding student responsibilities and rights, and the intellectual property policy, for information about procedures and about what constitutes acceptable on-campus behavior. Basically, Don’t cheat, don’t plagiarize, and you will be fine. ADA STATEMENT: Students with medical, psychological, learning or other disabilities desiring academic adjustments, accommodations or auxiliary aids will need to contact the SNAP Disability Resource Center, as the center determines eligibility for, and authorize, the provision of services. If you do have a disability, please let me know on or before the first day of class. OBSCENE AND OFFENSIVE MATERIAL: In this course, you will be required to listen to, view, and analyze obscene and offensive materials, including language and imagery that is obscene, sexist, homophobic, or racist, and descriptions of sexual conduct and violence. We do not intend in any way to offend, nor does Professor Roneka Matheny, the AfricanAmerican Studies Program, or the College of Charleston share in the opinions of the musicians that created this offensive material. Nevertheless, it is important to understand that these materials speak to issues, debates, and controversies that are essential to this course; therefore, no suitable substitutions are available, and none will be provided. By continuing with this course, you are agreeing to be held academically accountable for all required materials in the syllabus, regardless of their offensive nature. Students who are unwilling either to hear or think critically about such material are encouraged to drop this course immediately. Reading/Listening Schedule and Course Outline: (See the attached Class Playlist for the daily listening assignments.) WEEK 1: “Don’t Push Me ‘Cause I’m Close to the Edge!” The Historical Origins of This Thing Called Hip-Hop (1970-1987) Weekly writing assignment: What is Hip-Hop? How do you feel about this music, and how much do you know about it’s history? What are you expecting to learn from this course?
• • •
Tuesday, July 6 - Introduction to the Course Wednesday, July 7 - The Social and Political Context of Hip-Hop’s Birth o READ: Black Noise - pgs 21-41, 1-20 Thursday, July 8 - A Hip-Hop History Lesson o READ: Hip Hop Matters - pgs 9-29 (eBook) Black Noise - pgs 51-61
“Hip-Hop’s Founding Fathers Speak the Truth” (WebCT) Friday, July 9 - 1st Journal Entries Due! o READ: Hip Hop Matters - pgs 121- 125 (eBook) o WATCH: Krush Groove (1985) WEEK 2: “F@#k the Police and Fight The Power!” What Hip-Hop Has to Say About Poverty and Politics (1988-1996)
Weekly writing assignment: POLITICAL RAP - Why do you think that there is not more political rap today? If your answer is that consciousness doesn’t sell, then explain what has changed since groups like Public Enemy were wildly successful in the early 1990s. GANGSTA RAP - Do you think that the government should be able to censor/ban music because of it’s violent, offensive, or obscene lyrics? Why or why not?
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Monday, July 12 - Sampling and Hip Hop Goes Pop o READ: “The Rap on Rap” (WebCT) “Sample This” (WebCT) Tuesday, July 13 - Hip-Hop Politics o READ: Black Noise - pgs 99-124 “The Challenge of Rap Music from Cultural Movement to Political Power” (WebCT) Wednesday, July 14 - The Rise of West Coast Gangsta Rap o READ: Hip Hop Matters - pgs 44-53 (eBook) Black Noise - pgs 124-145 “Check Yo Self Before you Wreck Yo Self” (WebCT) Thursday, July 15 - Tupac and Biggie o READ: Wikipedia’s articles for both rappers (Look them up on your own) Friday, July 16 - 2nd Journal Entries Due! o WATCH: Beef (2003)
WEEK 3: “Hip-Hop Is Dead!” Is Hip-Hop in the 21st Century Continuing to Evolve or Beginning to DEvolve? (1997-2004) Weekly writing assignment: Nas, Common, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Timbaland, and many other artists have either made songs or commented publicly about the decline and/or death of hip-hop. Find some of their statements and song lyrics and discuss the specific reasons why they feel this way. Do you agree or disagree with them? Explain.
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Monday, July 19 - A New Era: Redefining Hip-Hop o READ: Hip Hop Matters - pgs 61-84 (eBook) Tuesday, July 20 -The Rise of the Dirty South o READ: “Represent: Race, Space, and Place in Rap Music” (WebCT) Wednesday, July 21 - Hip-Hop Travels in New Directions o READ: Hip Hop Matters - pgs 85-110 (eBook) Global Noise: Rap and Hip Hop Outside the USA - pgs 1-33 Thursday, July 22 - Where Do We Go From Here? o READ: Hip Hop Matters - pgs 249-256 (eBook) Hip Hop Wars - pgs “Preface,” 1-30, 217-240, 261-273 Friday, July 23 - 3rd Journal Entries Due! o WATCH: Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes (2007)
WEEK 4: Where Do YOU Stand on the Biggest Controversies Surrounding Hip-Hop Music and Culture? Weekly writing assignment: Looking back at your first entries in your journal, how have your thoughts, feelings, and attitude toward hip-hop changed? The class playlist includes the most significant songs/artists in the history of hip-hop, but it stops around 2002. List about 25 songs since then that you feel are important enough to be added to the list.
• • • • •
Monday, July 26 - Violence, Profanity, and the N Word: the Censorship Debate o READ: Hip Hop Wars - pgs 33-74, 187-200 Tuesday, July 27 - Just Keepin’ It Real: The Authenticity Debate o READ: Hip Hop Wars - pgs 133-147, 75-94 “About a Salary or Reality? Rap's Recurrent Conflict” (WebCT) Wednesday, July 28 - MC Hammer Had Money to Blow: the Hyper-Consumption Debate o READ: “Black Youth and the Ironies of Capitalism” (WebCT) Thursday, July 29 - Hoes in Different Area Codes: the Sexism and Homophobia Debate o READ: Hip Hop Matters - pgs 211-227 (eBook) Hip Hop Wars - pgs 113-131, 149-185 Friday, July 30 - 4th and Final Journal Entries Due! o WATCH: Kiss and Tail: The Hollywood Jump Off (2009)
WEEK 5: Course Conclusions
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Monday, August 2 - “Spread the Word” Projects Due! Tuesday, August 3 - Last Day of Class, Final Exam Review Wednesday, August 4 - Final Exam AAST 300-002 (11:45-1:30 Class) Thursday, August 5 - Final Exam AAST 300-001 (9:45-11:30 Class)
Assignment Details: There are five essential requirements for the successful completion of this Hip-Hop: Evolution and Impact course: Class Participation Class participation accounts for 10 points of your final grade. All students should attend class regularly because attendance will be factored into your class participation points. However, as the phrase suggests, class participation will measure your engagement in class discussions and the amount of preparation that is apparent from your commentary in class. Hip-Hop Journal One of the goals of this course is to introduce a new generation of young people to the history of hip-hop. All Americans between the ages of 25 and 40 have been undeniably and profoundly influenced by hip-hop music and culture. The class playlist represents an attempt to compile the most important and consequential hip-hop songs and artists into essentially a soundtrack of the lives of the 25 to 40 year old generation. Since most Americans under the age of 25 are unfamiliar with this music, this class will likely be the first exposure that many of you have to hip-hop history. Therefore, you need to keep a detailed journal about your experiences in this class and your evolving attitude toward the music. Each student will be required to keep a Hip-Hop Journal. The journal will be submitted weekly, and it’s content will correspond to the weekly themes of the course. Each week’s journal submission should consist of two parts: 1. A full page response to the week’s writing assignment (See the “Reading Schedule and Course Outline” section of this syllabus for the subjects of each week’s writing assignment.) 2. At least 2 separate entries about your reaction to the week’s songs, videos, movies, readings, lectures, and/or class discussions. You may include as many entries as you would like, but 2 is the minimum number necessary to receive full credit for the week. The purpose of this assignment is to help you organize your thoughts, reactions, and attitude toward hiphop, so please be as candid and as detailed as possible in your journal entries. This class would be
difficult to fit into a 15-week semester, but we are cramming everything you need to know about hip-hop into four and a half short weeks! As a result, you are going to have a ton of information thrown at you in a very short period of time, and this journal will be the outlet for you to express how you feel about ALL of it. Make sure that your journal adheres to the following rules:
The journal submission for each week is due on Fridays at the beginning of class! (Submission by email is preferable to submitting assignments late, but submission in hard copy is preferred.) Each week’s journal submission should have a combined length of about 800 words or be about 3 pages long. There is no rule about how long each entry should be as long as the entire submission is long enough. I do suggest, however, that you devote about one full page to the week’s writing assignment. Each individual journal entry (including the weekly writing assignments) should have a TITLE and include the DATE that it was written. I strongly discourage procrastinating and waiting until Thursday night to complete all of the week’s entries! The reason why I am requiring 3 separate entries (the weekly writing assignment and the 2 regular entries) each week is because I want the journal to reflect the evolution of your thoughts, reactions, and attitude as you learn more about hip-hop each day. All journal entries must be typed and double-spaced using Times New Roman 12-point font and 1-inch margins. Any deviations from this formatting WILL affect your grade! Please take the time to check for spelling and grammatical errors because they WILL also affect your grade!
Although you will submit your journal in four parts on the four Fridays of the course, the Hip-Hop Journal is actually one large assignment that chronicles the evolution of your thoughts, reactions, and attitude. Therefore, you should include the three earlier parts along with your fourth and final journal submission, and you should assemble them all into a single document by placing them into a folder or binder. Your entire Hip-Hop Journal will be due on Friday, July 30. It will account for 40 points of your final grade. “Spread the Word” Project If knowledge is power, then learning about the history and evolution of hip-hop music and its impact on society will greatly empower you and the other students in this course. However, what about the rest of the campus, the community, and the world? How do we empower them? As a part of this course, all students must plan and execute a project that will disseminate the information from the class to a wider audience and encourage others to engage in the types of educated and informed discussions about hip-hop that we are having. In other words, your task is to SPREAD THE WORD about the “Evolution and Impact” of hip-hop. At first this assignment may seem a bit intimidating, but all it will really take is a little time, a little thought, and a little creativity. Here are a few ideas of ways that you might share the information that you will learn in this class with others: • • • • Get someone from a local newspaper or magazine to interview you about the course. The campus newspaper or even your local hometown papers are good options. Get a hip-hop radio station to discuss the course or information from the course with you on the air. Participate in discussions and/or summits about hip-hop that are already occurring live or online. Create your own discussions and/or summits about hip-hop that will occur live or online.
Remember, you are not only representing yourselves with this project, but you are also representing this class, me, the African-American Studies Program, and the College of Charleston, so please make sure that you are intelligent and professional when you deal with the public. Also, remember that this project is called “Spread the Word,” so the success of your efforts is the most important part. You do NOT get an “A
for effort,” and it is NOT the “thought that counts!” If you create a Facebook/Myspace page, website, or Twitter account that nobody sees, then you fail this project, regardless of how much good information you include. For this reason, I will need to see comments or discussion by the “target audience” of your project as proof that you actually succeeded in spreading the word to someone. This will be especially important for online projects. This is a really good reason for you NOT TO PROCRASTINATE. You should start on this project as soon as the class begins, so you will have plenty of time to come up with a plan, carry it out, and get people’s reactions to it. Finally, please note that I have no problem with you using entries from your Hip-Hop Journal as material for your “Spread the Word” Project or vice versa. The “Spread the Word” Project will be graded on the following three dimensions: a) The creativity and appropriateness of your PLAN to share the information from this class with others, b) The effectiveness of your effort to put your plan into ACTION, and c) The SUCCESS of your efforts to “spread the word” about the evolution and impact of hip-hop. As mentioned earlier, this dimension is the most important. Please discuss your plans for this project with me BEFORE you begin. This is especially important if you plan to speak with newspapers, magazines, radio or television stations because having more than one group contacting the same news outlet will make the class and the College look tacky and disorganized. The “Spread the Word” Project will be completed in groups of 4 or fewer students. You may select your own groups. It will consist of three parts: the project, the report, and the presentation. Part 1 requires some sort of documentation or “proof” that you and your partners actually completed your planned project. Part 2, the report, should be about 2-3 pages long, typed, and double-spaced in Times New Roman 12-point font. It should explain your project by answering the following questions: 1. How did your group decide to spread the word about the evolution and impact of hip-hop? 2. Why did you choose to spread the word in this particular way? 3. What specific information from this course did you choose to share in your project? (Which songs, videos, films, readings, and/or elements of lecture and class discussion did you use and why?) 4. What role did each member of the group play in completing the project and report? (Make sure that you answer this question thoroughly and honestly because it will determine whether each member of your group gets the same grade.) Part 3, the presentation, will give you the chance to share your project with other students in your class. Each group will do a short 3-5 minute presentation of their project in class on Monday, August 2. This is also the day that the report is due. Attendance on this day is mandatory! The presentations should address the same four questions as the report. The necessary equipment for Powerpoints, internet, videos, etc. will be provided. Your projects will later be shared with the world via YouTube, Facebook, and the AAST website and newsletter, so make sure that you do a good job! The “Spread the Word” Project, report, and the presentation will account for 25 points of your final grade. Final Exam All students must take the Final Examination. (See the “Reading Schedule and Course Outline” section of this syllabus for your specific exam date and time.) You must notify me in advance if you will not be able to take the exam on your exam date. All make-up exams must be taken before the scheduled test date, and will be an alternative version of the test. The Final will be comprehensive, covering information presented from readings, lectures, discussions, etc., throughout the entire course. It will combine true/false, multiple choice, and short answer questions. The Final Exam accounts for 25 points of your final grade.
Extra Credit There will be 10 opportunities to earn Extra Credit points this semester. These opportunities will include pop quizzes, attending events on campus that are related to the content of this course, etc. Each one of these opportunities will add one point to your final grade point total. The pop quiz dates will be a surprise, therefore regular class attendance and being on time for class are strongly encouraged. Each quiz will pertain to the readings, lectures, and discussion of the week that it is given. The quizzes will consist of some combination of multiple choice, fill-in the blank and/or true/false questions. Many of these questions will also appear on the Final Exam, so it is a good idea to add them to your exam review. The quizzes will be distributed and taken during the first few minutes of class. Quizzes that are missed as a result of absence or tardiness will result in a quiz grade of zero, regardless of the reason for the absence or tardiness.
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