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Course Details

Spring 2016-2017
AMS 399 / HIS 399 (HA)   na, npdf

In the Groove: Technology and Music in American History, From Edison to the iPod

Emily Thompson

When Thomas Edison invented the phonograph in 1877, no one, including Edison, knew what to do with the device. Over the next century Americans would engage in an ongoing dialogue with this talking machine, defining and redefining its purpose. This course will track that trajectory, from business tool to scientific instrument to music recorder to musical instrument. By listening to the history of the phonograph, and by examining the desires and experiences of phonograph users, students will perceive more generally the complex relationships that exist between a technology and the people who produce, consume, and transform it.

Sample reading list:
Katz, Mark, Capturing Sound: How Technology has Changed Music
Brady, Erika, A Spiral Way: How the Phonograph Changed Ethnography
Edison, Thomas, The Phonograph and Its Future
Thompson, Emily, Machine, Music, and the Quest for Fidelity
Gould, Glenn, The Prospects of Recording
Movie, Scratch

Reading/Writing assignments:
Reading assignments will average 125 pages per week. Essay assignments will require students to integrate ideas, themes, and information across several weeks of reading/lecture to articulate an argument about some aspect of the relationship between phonographic technology and culture. Students will also develop skills of careful, historically-informed listening.

Requirements/Grading:
Mid Term Exam - 10%
Final Exam - 15%
Papers - 50%
Class/Precept Participation - 25%

Other Requirements:
Not Open to Graduate Students.

Reserved Seats:
AMS Certificate Students Only 2

Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
42766 L01 10:00 am - 10:50 am M W   McCosh Hall   64   Enrolled:25 Limit:45
42768 P01 2:30 pm - 3:20 pm W   Friend Center   306   Enrolled:11 Limit:15
43886 P02 3:30 pm - 4:20 pm Th   Frist Campus Center   212   Enrolled:10 Limit:15
43887 P03 7:30 pm - 8:20 pm Th   Frist Campus Center   209   Enrolled:4 Limit:15
42767 P99 TBA        Enrolled:0 Limit:0 Canceled