- Analyze a song or album by a musician from the South.
- Recognize connections between that song/album situate it in historical context.
Step 1: Choose a Song or Album by a Musician (group or artist) from the South
- You should choose a song or album that will allow you to explore its “Southernness”— that is, the ways in which it is or is not Southern or being depicted as Southern, or depicting something about life in the South.
- Your cultural item can be from the past or the present.
- Your song can be one of the songs from the live performances in our class.
- Your analysis can focus on the song or album itself (lyrics, instruments) and/or on accompanying materials (album cover, music video, etc.).
- We leave it to you to define for yourself what constitutes a Southerner and the South.
Step 2: Find relevant secondary/scholarly sources
- You will need to read and reference at least 2 scholarly publications (peer-reviewed journals, books) related to your topic.
- Your sources should provide larger historical context for your topic. You might think of this as background information to help frame your analysis of your cultural product and/or to provide historical context.
- You must choose secondary sources not on the syllabus. However, you can incorporate material from class in addition to these sources.
Step 3: The Paper
Your paper should have two components: context and analysis.
- Rely on your secondary source(s) to frame your song/album. That is, explain the history or larger issues that will help the reader to understand your product and analysis.
- Depending on your topic, you may need to provide basic information (such as biographical info about the artist and where they are from.). Tell the reader only as much as they would need to know to understand your analysis.
- The bulk of your paper should be devoted to your analysis of the song/album.
- Situate it within the larger context of Southern culture and history—what does it
tell you about the South? Or what does it tell you about how the South is being represented? Walk us through those explanations.
Demonstrate, for example, how you understand your product reveals something about life in the South or something about “Southernness.”
- Compare your album/song to your secondary sources. How does it relate to (agree or diverge from) the secondary sources you read? What does an analysis of this song/album reveal about the broader issue or historical event?
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