Music Beyond Earbuds (Spring 2014)

Film Response Blog Post Assignment

Due: To be posted on April 17, 2014 by Midnight

The Film Response Blog Post Assignment is to be posted on the Department of American Studies blog ( by midnight on Thursday, April 17, 2014. Every student will be invited to have Author access on the blog. In order to do so, email me as soon as possible so I can send you an electronic invitation. We will perform a tutorial in class that acts as a basic introduction to blogging, and we can make an appointment in office hours to go over the material further. The posts must be between 8 and 10 thoughtfully constructed paragraphs that include your original analysis.

For this assignment students will choose a film that discusses a particular band/ artist, musical movement, album, or event in American cultural and musical history and write a short response. This can be a documentary or theatrical film. Though we are primarily focusing on the United States for the purposes of this course, our framework can also be applied to cultures abroad. Feel free to work with a form of music that touches on your personal background or interest. You can choose any film, so be creative with your decision. If you are unsure which film to pick, I can offer suggestions.

Basic Guidelines:
You must approach the blog posts just as seriously as a traditional essay. You will be graded as such. You must have an argument guiding your ideas. Be sure to pay close attention to avoid proofreading errors. Remember that your work is online and accessible to everyone; intelligent presentation is imperative.
Your post should use the course readings as a basis for generating your own multimedia conversation that helps you understand and analyze the topic of your film. You will also want to find another blog, images, pieces of music, podcasts, videos, and other media relevant to your argument and integrate them into the post. Make sure to cite them. It is crucial that you are creative to generate interest for readers.

Guiding Questions:

  •  What artist, band, musical movement, era, or event does the film chronicle?
  • If you are not looking at an era specifically (i.e. folk music in the 1960s), what time period or phenomenon does your film focus on?
  • What is the cultural context of your film? What is the social, economic, and political climate?
  • What parallels can you draw from our class discussions that inform your understanding of music’s role outside of an isolated listening experience?
  • Does your film present a fair and balanced look at the topic? Is it biased?
  • Why did you choose this particular topic? What is your personal connection?
  • If you were to further research the topic, how would you approach it now that your film has given you a point of departure?

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