This course develops modes of feminist listening to a variety of examples in popular music including hip-hop, pop, rock, R&B, country music, and crossover/experimental music. By examining the sonic, texted, and visual components of popular music in relation to gender, sexuality, the body, race, ethnicity, economics, and nation, students will develop a critical vocabulary for discussing and analyzing the effects and meanings of popular music as filtered by twenty-first century listeners. Through close listening, discussion of assigned readings and pieces, and analytical writing on recorded and live performances, the course will encourage students to examine a wide repertory of popular music by using a variety of intersectional analytical “sieves,” refining and enriching their experience of popular music as critically astute listeners and writers. This course is designed for students who are interested in sharpening their listening practices but does not assume previous formal study of music. The course 1) introduces the fundamental of music through exercises in listening and writing, 2) focuses on a selection of current literature on listening, theoretical approaches to music analysis, and feminist/queer criticism; 3) attunes students to the various indices of musical structure (melody, form, harmony, rhythm & meter, words, flow & groove, performance); 4) brings together these parts of music into feminist/queer, alternative hearings of specific works.
Feminist Listening: Critical and Intersectional Approaches to Popular Music