FYS-143 Protest Music

Instructor: Associate Professor Dave Powell
Department: Education

Course Description:
"This Machine Kills Fascists!": Protest Music & Social Change in the American Experience The famous inscription Woody Guthrie placed on his guitar in 1943 says something profound about how many artists and musicians view their work: while art entertains us, it also can enlighten and liberate us as well. Unfortunately, the history of America often taught in schools focuses largely on names, dates, and other facts pieced together in an effort to tell a particular kind of story about America--one that does little to help us appreciate the struggle that runs like a swift current just beneath the surface of daily life. In this seminar we will revisit some of that history, focusing primarily on the way musicians--from 19th century slaves to 20th century bluesmen, from Depression-era balladeers to Civil Rights marchers, and from war protesters of forty years ago to war protesters today--have attempted to right wrongs, educate sensibilities, and awaken the consciences of people in an effort to make America a place that lives up to its promise.