ENGL 095A. The Art of the American Musical
(Cross-listed as THEA 005B, MUSI 005D )
The triumph of Hamilton: An American Musical, by Lin-Manuel Miranda, over Shuffle Along, or, the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed, by George C. Wolfe, at the 2016 Tony Awards is a metaphor for the racial amnesia concerning art by and about blacks who are not useful to neoliberal public policy. This course applies #blacklivesmatter to the American musical--between the all-black-cast revival, Beyoncé, biological versus social origins of race, black culture in a "post-soul" era, blackface versus black-on-black minstrelsy, the chitlin circuit, color-blind versus conceptual casting, genre, gospel, and reviews of Porgy and Bess, by George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, and DuBose Heyward, in black daily newspapers and black monthly and weekly magazines--taking seriously Wolfe's claim about intellectual history that "given the dynamics of this country, you may find yourself at a point where your story is no longer valuable, acute or attractive, and if it hasn't been recorded, if you haven't recorded it or if you haven't put into motion people to record it, then it won't be there." These topics require students to conduct research into the African-American experience in the musical as well as listen to sound recordings of Broadway, Off-Broadway, regional/tour, and West End stage works and watch film, television, video, and video clips on YouTube.
Eligible for BLST
Catalog chapter: English Literature
Department website: http://www.swarthmore.edu/english-literature
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