Section 001: MW, 1 to 2:50 p.m., HHH 323

    Spring 2008, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire        


    Office: HHH 425, (715) 836-4369

    Office Hours:  T 2:40-4:30 pm, T 9:50-10:30 pm,
    W 3-4 pm, and By Appointment



        I conceive this course as an advanced introduction to: 1.) bringing key concepts from critical theory to bear in making sense of contemporary popular music and 2.) approaching popular music from the vantage point of cultural studies–i.e.,  making sense of popular music within the context of particular cultures and subcultures.  

    In sections two (2) and three (3) of this course explanation statement immediately below I offer you the virtual equivalent of a short opening lecture, defining and explaining some key terms we will be working with over the course of this semester.


    According to ethnomusicologist Kay Kaufman Shelemay, writing at the beginning of her popular textbook introduction to ethnomusicology, Soundscapes: Exploring Music in a Changing World (2nd Edition, New York: Norton, 2006), music can be defined as “the purposeful organization of the quality, pitch, duration, and intensity of sound” (4) and “as organized sound that is meaningful within a specific place and time.” [Along these lines “music” might be defined, even more concisely, as “willful noise”–another introductory definition that is actually more useful and neither as simple nor as reductive as it might at first seem.]  After positing these two broad definitions of music, Shelemay continues, “we must understand what sounds people select and how they define music.”  In other words, music becomes meaningful, taking on distinct form and exerting distinct impact, within particular “soundscapes,” and it is situated in this kind of context that music becomes available as a subject for critical theoretical inquiry.  A “soundscape” refers to the result of a complex intersection among a broad array of shaping factors in constituting a spatially and temporarily particular sonic environment.  A “musical soundscape,” therefore, involves an interconnected array of elements that collectively result in a purposeful organization of the quality, pitch, duration, and intensity of sound such that this becomes meaningful to a specific group of people at a specific place and time.  The aforementioned shaping elements operating to form a musical soundscape include all of the following–and more:

1.)  Physical characteristics of sound and of sound instruments and technologies.

2.)  The physiology and psychology of reception and response to particular articulations of sound.

3.) Conventional (and non-conventional) forms, patterns, textures, styles, means, and media for organizing, expressing, communicating, and sharing sound.

4.)  Economic, social, political, and historical characteristics of the locally particular expanse of space and of the locally particular duration of time in which the ‘musicking’ in question takes place–as well as the economic, social, political, and historical characteristics of this specific spatio-temporal location’s interrelations with other times and other places. [‘Musicking’ refers to music as activity in multiple senses–e.g., actively making music, actively responding and relating to music, and actively engaging with and making use of music.]

5.)  Philosophical, including ethical and aesthetic, as well as religious, spiritual, and other ideological frameworks directing how to make sense of and respond to particular organizations and articulations of sound at particular times and in particular spaces.


6.) Interconnections between specific articulations of organized sound and a host of social functions and activities–including, for example, signification, memory, dance, ritual, securing and re-securing of terms of identity, structuring and restructuring of everyday life, marking out the extraordinary or the unusual from the ordinary and the everyday, and aiding and inspiring work and struggle for change.  

    In this course, “Critical Studies in Contemporary Popular Music Cultures,” we seek to make sense of the meaning, value, and significance of music in specific cultural contexts.   This means we here explore music as a powerful dimension of specific cultures in two principal directions:

1.)  First, as it is formed and constituted by conditions of possibility and forces of generation operating from within–and across–these cultures,


2.) Second, as it contributes substantially, in turn, a.) not only toward determining the nature of the lived experience of conditions of existence prevailing for those who participate within these cultures, b.) but also toward maintaining, reproducing, reshaping, and transforming the fundamental structures of these cultures.   

    In sum, we focus on making sense of what music means–and does–for people as part of distinct cultures.  And given the inclusion of “popular” in the title of the course we are focusing even more precisely on what music means when it exercises substantial appeal–and becomes a highly significant dimension of life-experience, as well as  life-practice–for a broad array of people.  “Popular” directs us away from focus on music made by and for a narrow caste who maintain highly advanced knowledge and training in elite and restrictive forms and styles.  It also directs us away from a focus on music involving rigidly fixed divisions between musical performance on the one hand and musical reception on the other hand.  In addition, “popular” means that we focus on music as representation, expression and communication of (at least prospectively) commonly shared interests, concerns, needs, desires, hopes, and fears.  And, following directly from the last point, “popular” means we focus away from music as representation, expression, and communication of interests, concerns, needs, desires, hopes, and fears only shared by–and for that matter often only intelligible to–a narrow social, intellectual, or artistic elite.  

    Beyond our focus on the “popular” this course also focuses on the “contemporary,” and of course this is another difficult term to pin down in any precise way, as it is even more obviously elastic in its relativity than “popular.”  Yet for those working within the emerging field of popular music studies, “contemporary” tends to mean one of three things: 1.)  Post-World War II; 2.)  From the 1960s onward, or 3.) From the mid-1970s onward.  We will work with all three of these conceptions of “contemporary” at various points in this course, and especially with the third.  As we proceed you will read, and we will discuss, different arguments supporting the logic of each of these three ways of conceiving “the contemporary” in relation to “popular music” and “popular music studies.”

    At the same time, however, as editors Andy Bennett, Barry Shank, and Jason Toynbee write in their “Introduction” to The Popular Music Studies Reader, popular music studies itself maintains a long pre-history, dating well before 1945, and also frequently enough, especially as the field continues rapidly to grow, engages with popular musics–and musickings–taking place in many distant times at many different places across the globe.  With the emergence of rock music, and especially of a generation of scholars who themselves came of age after rock had clearly established itself as a globally dominant–and indeed economically, socially, politically, and culturally overwhelming–force, contemporary popular music studies began to emerge, at least in the UK and the US, in the mid-1970s, in conjunction with the simultaneous emergence of cultural studies, popular culture studies, and postmodern critical theory.  Moving forward thirty years later, as Bennett, Shank, and Toynbee indicate, “popular music studies has now emerged as a globally established and multi-disciplinary field,” encompassing the work of scholars from all of the following academic areas and more: musicology and ethnomusicology, anthropology, sociology, media and cultural studies, politics, linguistics, history, and English.  And, not surprisingly therefore, the range of focuses of interest as well as approaches toward these subjects operating across this field of scholarship is widely heterogeneous.  Popular music studies engages with all of the following areas of interest–and more: the economics and politics of the music industry, textual and discourse analysis, audience and reception studies, studies of forms of musical production and dissemination, music and performance, music venues and fora, studies of music scenes, studies of music-making practices, music and technology/music and technological development and innovation, music-making practices and the law, music and (specific) subcultures or (neo)tribes, music and diaspora, music and globalization, music and hybridization, music in everyday life, music and other forms of media, music and other forms of art, music and/as politics, music and/as ideology, music of protest and resistance, music and social change, music and race, music and ethnicity, music and nationality, music and gender, music and sexuality, and music and class.  In sum, this is an exciting, still emergent field full of possibilities for you too to contribute in innovative, influential, and compelling ways.


    Next I want to turn to discuss some other key components of the title–and focus–of this course: “culture” and “cultural studies”; “theory” and “criticism”; and “critical theory.”

    Let’s begin with “culture.”  Culture is the equivalent of the "second nature" that human beings create by acting in and upon nature itself to transform nature into a new kind of reality: culture includes, therefore, everything that human beings have created, built, learned, and conquered in the course of our entire history, in distinction from what nature has provided, including the natural history of human beings ourselves as a species of animal.  Culture includes all that human beings create as a result of our deliberate transformation of both nature itself and the products of prior human transformations of nature.  This dimension of culture I suggest we refer to, more precisely, as “universal human culture” or “human culture in general.”   From this point, we next start to deal with specific cultureS.  In doing so, let’s begin by considering physical (or material) culture versus intellectual (or ideal) culture.  “Physical culture” includes all of the physical products of human invention and creation whereas “intellectual culture” includes all of the intellectual products of human invention and creation.  After distinguishing material versus ideal culture, we come next to the cultures of particular societies.  These cultures encompass the sum total of knowledge and of capacity for representation, expression, communication, and creation distinctive to an entire society, or at the least–where the latter is overwhelmingly dominant–distinctive to its ruling class.  This culture–the culture of a specific human society–penetrates all fields of human activity taking place within the society in question and at the same time plays a key role in giving the society its coherence–and unity.  Moving on, to a further set of divisions, within any particular society we also find many, additional smaller-scale cultures–and subcultures.  These comprise the sum total of the particular knowledges, capacities, fields of work (and fields of play), customs and habits, traditions, values and attitudes, social roles and identities, and ways of thinking, feeling, acting, interacting, and behaving that characterize and, more importantly than merely characterize, that internally unify and externally differentiate particular regions, classes, and other social groups located within the larger society as a whole.  “Cultures” used in this last sense often refer to distinct areas of life-practice operating within a larger society, such as legal culture, government culture, academic culture, family culture, leisure culture, religious culture, military culture, workplace culture, bar or pub culture, internet social networking culture, etc.  Turning next to “subcultures,” these are always also parts of larger-scale and more generally wide-ranging cultures–and they are not simply parts that differ from or oppose a larger, more general, or more dominant culture, even when this seems to be the manifest intention of those who identify with a particular subculture.  Instead, subcultures comprise particular segments of a general culture where we find a particular rearrangement, modification, and transformation of elements drawn from this general culture (as well as a particular rearrangement, modification, and transformation of elements of universal human culture).  This process (of rearrangement, modification, and transformation of elements drawn from a larger, general, dominant culture) is itself both the product–and that which in turn enables the reproduction–of a specific mode of social relating distinct to the subculture in question.  Subcultures often overlap and interrelate, while they also exist at considerably different levels of development–and maintain considerably different degrees of relative autonomy (both versus each other and vis-a-vis the larger, general, dominant culture within which they are situated).   Finally, particular subcultures may anticipate possible directions for further development and future reorganization (or transformation) of the general culture (and this as a whole or in some of its particular aspects and dimensions)–or they may persist as remnants of prior levels of development and prior forms of organization of the general culture (again, as a whole or in some particular aspects and dimensions).  In this course, as previously suggested, we are inquiring into how music functions within (that is, as a powerfully inter-determinate constituent of) specific cultures–and specific subcultures.  

    Now, let’s turn to “cultural studies.”  Working with just one helpful initial way of making sense of what this field is about, cultural studies engages the "writing" and "reading" of all "texts" of culture (and not just conventional "literary"–or print or verbal–varieties of texts).  According to cultural studies, we "read" whenever we interpret what something "means," and we "write" whenever we create something which others must interpret so as to determine what it means.  This leads us to approach all products of culture as "texts" insofar as they are written and read, insofar as they are understood as possessing or bearing meaning.  "Texts" include everything from the seemingly most "profoundly meaningful" to the seemingly most "mundanely meaningless" (as, after all, to be considered insignificant, or of little or no meaning, is to be judged to mean in a particular way as well).  Cultural studies thus focuses on making sense of "texts" such as films, television shows, music and video productions and performances, paintings and drawings, sculpture and architecture, sports teams and games, trends in clothing and fashion, commercial advertisements, individual dreams and plans, shopping lists and checkout receipts, buildings and rooms, kinds of food and drink, roads and vehicles, manners and gestures, ceremonies and rituals, personalities and personal relationships, and individual actions and specific incidents.  Cultural studies focuses on making sense of the meaning, value, and significance of specific cultural products and practices as well as of the social relationships humans form to facilitate and regulate specific processes of making and practicing.  And cultural studies focuses on the social relationships humans form, furthermore, to distribute, exchange, consume, and otherwise receive and respond to specific processes of making and practicing.  Again, what this means, for this course, is that we are inquiring into the meaning, value, and significance of specific music products and music practices as well as into the social relationships humans, working within specific cultures and subcultures, form to facilitate and regulate processes of making, practicing, distributing, exchanging, consuming, receiving, and responding to music.         

    Up next, “theory,” “criticism,” and “critique.”  “Theory” aims to provide a conceptual explanation of what forms and constitutes an object (and I mean “object” in a broad sense here: “objects” of theoretical interest and concern include, for example, “questions,” “issues,” “problems,” “processes,” and “relations”).  This means that a theory of an object seeks to explain what, in essence, distinguishes this object, how and for what this object functions, and what gives rise to and follows from the object’s inter-determinate interconnections with other objects. “Criticism” applies theory to support and sustain an evaluation of an object.  In other words, criticism judges an object, assessing its significance, value, usefulness, and/or effectivity while simultaneously justifying its judgement by drawing upon the support of theory to do so.  “Critique” is a particular mode of criticism.  Critique refers to the mobilization of theory to support an effort at intervention in relation to an object.  In other words, critique deploys theory to affect either 1.) a change in an object or 2.) a change in the ways people find it conceivable, desirable, and possible to value and use this object.  Theory always develops through critique of preexisting theory as well as by means of intellectual processes that include analysis and synthesis, deduction and induction, abstraction and concretization, and testing and modeling.  In relation to this course, what all this means is we are seeking to develop and apply concepts that can enable us to understand, and especially to explain, music as cultural text, product, practice, and complex site/stake of social exchange–and interchange.  It also means we seek to assess the meaning, value, significance, and effectivity of specific instances of musicking in accord with what the aforementioned concepts enable us to do, and according to criteria for interpretation and evaluation that logically follow from what these concepts suggest.  And, finally, it means we work, as we can, to contribute toward the ongoing development of (new) knowledge about how (best) to make sense of and to respond to specific music cultures.                

    One more key term I want to introduce in this section: “critical theory.”  Critical theory begins by questioning and challenging the seeming obviousness, naturalness, immediacy, and simplicity of the world around us, and, in particular, of what we are able to perceive through our senses and understand through the application of our powers of reason.  Critical theory is therefore concerned with discovering and uncovering, and with describing and explaining "mediations"–environmental, ecological, physical, physiological, psychological, intellectual, emotional, historical, social, cultural, economic, political, ideological, linguistic, semiotic, aesthetic, religious, ethical, etc.– between "object" and "subject," "event" and "impression," "impression" and "perception," "perception" and "cognition," "cognition" and "reflection," "reflection" and "response," "response" and "reaction," "reaction" and "action," and "action" and "practice."  Critical theory proceeds from this point to question and challenge the passive acceptance that "the way things are"–or "the way things seem"–simply "is" the "natural" way they necessarily "should" or "must" be.   In other words, in relation to the last point, critical theory questions and challenges the conviction that what is, or what is in the process of becoming, or what appears to be, or what is most commonly understood to be, or what is dominantly conveyed to be, is also at the same time right and true, good and just, and necessary and inevitable; critical theory does not, at least not automatically, accept any of this.  Critical theory is always, in sum, particularly concerned with inquiring into the problems and limitations, the blindnesses and mistakes, the contradictions and incoherences, and the injustices and inequities in how we as human beings, operating within particular kinds of structures and hierarchies of relations with each other, facilitated and regulated by particular kinds of institutions, engaged in particular kinds of processes and practices, have formed, reformed, and transformed ourselves, each other, and the communities, cultures, societies, and worlds in which we live.  What all this means, in sum, for what we will be doing together this semester, in this course, is we seek to defamiliarize the familiar–both within music cultures and, especially, by means of, with, and through what specific practices of musicking offer us to do this work of defamiliarization.  It also means we examine the “place” of specific music cultures within larger social series, relations, processes, structures, and systems.  And it means, finally, that, as we theorize about and critique specific music culture productions and practices, we aim to be self-consciously self-reflexive–and self-critical– concerning our own assumptions, our own predispositions, our own values, our own principles, our own objectives, our own cultural affiliations, our own social positionings, our own political outlooks, our own philosophical (and/or spiritual and/or religious) commitments and identifications, and our own ideological biases.


    We will begin the course, after an initial period of introduction and orientation, by first reading and discussing some selections from The Popular Music Studies Reader that will introduce us to some concepts, positions, methods, and approaches we can take up, argue with and/or against, and apply–perhaps, as we find useful, critically–to help us make sense of diverse issues that we will proceed to engage over the course of the semester.  After that, we will next tackle Jacques Attali’s Noise: The Political Economy of Music–which posits a challenging theorization of what its title indicates, as well as of a good number of related issues.  Attali’s book has proven highly influential within popular music studies–at the least as a work of provocation, and even when subsequent critics and theorists have sharply disagreed with him.  I expect that Attali’s theories will likewise stimulate and provoke us, in our thinking about the issues he addresses, and we will likewise make use of these theories over the course of the semester by continuing to argue with and/or against them.  From this point we will next focus on writings in three concentrated areas in which to investigate the workings of contemporary popular music cultures, as well as positions, concepts, approaches, and methods for making sense of these workings: 1.) Punk and Postpunk; 2.) Hip-Hop; and 3.) DJ/Club/Dance/Electronica.   I have selected these areas because they represent principal sites of some of the most extensive and substantial work in popular music studies scholarship, especially recently, and as they have all emerged and developed simultaneous with the field of popular music studies itself.  As we read about the workings of music cultures in these areas, we will learn more about punk, postpunk, hip-hop, dj and club culture, electronica and electronic dance, yes, but also, once more, we will seek to extrapolate concepts, positions, methods, and approaches that we can apply more broadly, including–as we find it compelling to do so–critically.  I expect that we will ultimately approach these writings yet again as sources of stimulus and provocation–encouraging us not simply to accept without question or challenge, and not simply to reiterate or replicate, these writers’ own takes, but rather to develop concepts, positions, methods, and approaches of our own, so that we too can theorize and critique, rather than demonstrating merely that we are able to paraphrase and summarize others’ theories and critiques.  After this point in the semester, approximately two-thirds of the way through, you will then present your term papers (or term projects), which you will have a chance to present in process–in multiple stages of development–so you can gain the benefit of constructive critique from your classmates, me, and, at the English Festival, an even wider audience, before you submit a final version for a grade.  


    As I expect has been the case for most if not all of you as well, music has long occupied a central place in my life.  I experience music as exercising immense power:

1.)  The power not only to express and communicate but also, and ultimately much more than this, to literally embody our aspirations for a better world and for a better relationship with the larger world, with each other, and with ourselves.

2.)  The power to reflect, to remember, to witness, to testify, to recreate, to imagine, to fantasize, to question, to challenge, to critique, to protest, to incite, and to inspire.

3.) The power to constitute a preeminent mode of collective knowing, feeling, believing, and understanding.  

4.) The power to serve as indispensable means and medium of experience and engagement with life’s vitality.   

5.) The power to help us grasp the essence of our being–in motion and interconnection.

What’s more, as I experience it, music may not be capable, in and of itself, of changing the world for the better (and then again it may be so capable), but it certainly seems eminently capable of encouraging us, inspiring us, and provoking us to work and struggle to do so.    

    Whether you experience the power of music in any way similar to what I do or not, I hope that you too will approach this course as I do, as offering one opportunity to enrich our understanding and appreciation for whatever we conceive this power to accomplish–and, especially, for what music means and does for people as participants within particular communities, societies, cultures, and subcultures, past and present, across the globe.


    The following required texts are available for purchase at the UWEC Bookstore in Davies Center:

1.    Bennett, Andy, Barry Shank, and Jason Toynbee, eds.  The Popular Music Studies Reader.   London: Routledge, 2006.  ISBN#: 0-415-30710-4.

2.    Attali, Jacques.  1977.  Noise: The Political Economy of Music.   Brian Massumi, trans.  Theory and History of Literature, Volume 16.  Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1985.  ISBN#: 0-8166-1287-0.

3.    Thompson, Stacy.   Punk Productions: Unfinished Business.  Albany: State University of New York Press, 2004.  ISBN#: 0-7914-6188-2.

4.    Reynolds, Simon.  Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk, 1978-1984.  New York: Penguin, 2005.  ISBN#: 0-14-303672-6.  

5.    Forman, Murray and Marc Anthony Neal, eds.  That’s the Joint!: The Hip-Hop Studies Reader.   New York: Routledge, 2004.  ISBN#: 0-415-96919-0.

6.    Brewster, Bill and Frank Broughton.  1999.  Last Night a DJ Saved My Life: the History of the Disc Jockey.  Revised Edition.  New York: Grove, 2000.  ISBN#: 0-8021-3688-5.

7.    Miller, Paul D aka DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid.  Rhythm Science.  Mediawork Pamphlet Series.  Cambridge, MA: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 2004.  ISBN#: 0-262-623287-X.

    * Please note well that in the case of all but #7 we will be reading selections from these books, and not the whole books; in a number of cases–specifically #1, #4, #5, and #6–we will be reading only half or less of the book for class. *

    The following optional, supplementary text students may work with on their own as they find useful:

        Harp, David.  Music Theory Made Easy.  Third Revised Edition.  Montpelier, VT: Musical I Press, 2004.  ISBN#: 0-918321-59-X.

    Also, this text I initially planned to order as a further supplementary contribution to the course, but because it is not available through a conventional distributor the UWEC Bookstore I could not order it:                        

        Negativland.  No Business (Eight Tracks of Audio on a CD, a Short Video, a Long Essay, and Some Additional ‘Fun’ Items).  ISBN#: 53762-00252.   Available through http://www.negativland.com/

     You may feel free to purchase any of the aforementioned texts, required or optional, from any other bookstore or book outlet, including by means of on-line ordering outlets (such as http://www.amazon.com or http://www.barnesandnoble.com), as you wish, as long as you acquire them in time to use in and for class.

    Frequently I will bring music–primarily in the form of CDs, MP3s, etc.–to class, related to our readings, for us to listen to and discuss in class.  I will also invite you to do so from time to time, as you are able (as you can gain access).  In addition, I will also periodically post MP3 copies of music related to readings you are doing for class on Desire2Learn so that you can listen to these prior to and beyond class.      


1/23: Introduction and Orientation.

1/28: Discussion, Readings from The Popular Music Studies Reader and Related Issues.

    Read for Class: Philip Tagg, “Subjectivity and Soundscape, Motorbikes and Music,” 44-49; Sarah Thornton, “Understanding Hipness: ‘Subcultural Capital’ as Feminist Tool,” 99-105; Andy Bennett, “Subcultures or Neotribes?: Rethinking the Relationship Between Youth, Style and Musical Taste,” 106-113; and  Tia DeNora, “Music and Self-Identity,” 141-147.

1/30: Discussion, Readings from The Popular Music Studies Reader and Related Issues.

    Read for Class: Philip Auslander, “Liveness: Performance and the Anxiety of Simulation,” 85-91; Rick Altman, “The Material Heterogeneity of Recorded Sound,” 269-275; Andrew Goodwin, “Rationalization and Democratization in the New Technologies of Popular Music,” 276-282; and Paul Théberge, “Music/Technology/Practice: Musical Knowledge in Action.”

    * Initial Short Paper Assigned. *

2/4:  Discussion, Readings from The Popular Music Studies Reader and Related Issues.

    Read for Class: Tricia Rose, “Voices from the Margins: Rap Music and Contemporary Cultural Production,” 216-223; Simon Frith, “The Industrialization of Sound,” 231-238; David Hesmondhalgh, “The British Dance Music Industry: A Case Study Of Independent Cultural Production,” 246-252; Joanne Gottlieb and Gayle Wald, “Smells Like Teen Spirit: Riot Grrrls, Revolution, and Women in Independent Media,” 355-361.

2/6: Discussion, Readings from Noise: the Political Economy of Music and Related Issues.

    Read for Class: Jacques Attali, Noise, Chapter One, “Listening,” 3-20, and From Chapter Two, “Sacrificing,” 21-36.
2/11:  Discussion, Readings from Noise: the Political Economy of Music and Related Issues.

    Read for Class: Jacques Attali, Noise, From Chapter Two, “Sacrificing,” 36-45 and Chapter Three, “Representing,” 46-86.

2/13: Discussion, Readings from Noise: the Political Economy of Music and Related Issues.

    Read for Class: Jacques Attali, Noise, Chapter Four, “Repeating,” 87-132, and Chapter Five, “Composing,” 133-148.
* Initial Short Paper Due by 12 noon Friday February 15 (in my English Department mailbox, HHH 405, or as an e-mail attachment [not Microsoft Works, Microsoft Publisher, or Microsoft Word docx formats]). *

2/18: Discussion, Readings from Punk Productions: Unfinished Business and Related Issues.

    Read for Class: Stacy Thompson, Punk Productions, “Introduction: You Are Not What You Own,” 1-7, and Chapter 1, “Let’s Make a Scene,” 9-79.

    * Term Paper/Project Prospectus Assignment Distributed. *

2/20: Discussion, Readings from Punk Productions: Unfinished Business and Related Issues.

    Read for Class: Stacy Thompson, Punk Productions, Chapter 2, “Punk Aesthetics and the Poverty of the Commodity,” 81-117.

2/25: Discussion, Readings from Punk Productions: Unfinished Business and Related Issues.

    Read for Class: Stacy Thompson, Punk Productions: Chapter 3, “Punk Economics and the Shame of Exchangeability,” 119-137; Chapter 4, “Market Failure: Punk Economics, Early and Late,” 139-157; and “Epilogue–Beyond Punk–Punk’s Not Dead,” 177-180.

    * First Learning and Contribution Reflection Paper Assigned. *

2/27:  Discussion, Readings from Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk, 1978-1984 and Related Issues.

    Read for Class: Simon Reynolds, Rip It Up and Start Again: “Prologue: the Unfinished Revolution,” 1-11; Chapter 1, “Public Image Belongs to Me: John Lydon and PiL,” 15-25; Chapter 2, “Autonomy in the UK: DIY and the British Independent-Label Movement,” 26-40; Chapter 3, “Tribal Revival: the Pop Group and the Slits,” 41-53; and Chapter 4, “Militant Entertainment: Gang of Four, the Mekons, and the Leeds Scene,” 54-69.
    * Term Paper/Project Prospectus Due. *

3/3: Discussion, Readings from Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk, 1978-1984 and Related Issues.

    Read for Class: Simon Reynolds, Rip It Up and Start Again: Chapter 5, “Uncontrollable Urge: the Industrial Grotesquerie of Pere Ubu and Devo,” 70-84; Chapter 7, “Just Step Sideways: The Fall, Joy Division, and the Manchester Scene,” 103-123; Chapter 11, “Messthetics: the London Vanguard,” 180-196; Chapter 12, “Freak Scene: Cabaret Noir and Theater of Cruelty in Postpunk San Francisco,“ 197-211; and “Chapter 13: Careering: PiL and Postpunk’s Peak and Fall,”  212-223.

3/5: Discussion, Readings from Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk, 1978-1984 and Related Issues.

    Read for Class: Simon Reynolds, Rip It Up and Start Again: Chapter 14, “Ghost Dance: 2-Tone and the Ska Resurrection,” 227-245; Chapter 18, “Electric Dreams: Synthpop,” 296-314; Chapter 20, “New Gold Dreams 81-82-83-84: New Pop’s Peak, the Second British Invasion of America, and the Rise of MTV,” 332-351; Chapter 22, “Raiding the Twentieth Century: ZTT, the Art of Noise, and Frankie Goes to Hollywood,” 370-388; and “Afterword,” 389-399.

3/10: Discussion, Readings from That’s the Joint!: the Hip-Hop Studies Reader and Related Issues.

    Read for Class: Sally Banes, “Breaking,” 13-20; Craig Castelman, “The Politics of Graffiti,” 21-29; Nelson George, “Hip-Hop’s Founding Fathers Speak the Truth,” 45-55; and Dick Hebdige, “Rap and Hip-Hop: the New York Connection,” 223-232.

3/12: Discussion, Readings from That’s the Joint!: the Hip-Hop Studies Reader and Related Issues.

    Read for Class: Michael Dyson, “The Culture of Hip-Hop,” 61-68; Murray Forman, “‘Represent’: Race, Space, and Place in Rap Music,” 201-222; Cheryl L. Keyes, “Empowering Self, Making Choices, Creating Spaces: Black Female Identity via Rap Music Performance,” 265-276; and Richard Shusterman, “Challenging Conventions in the Fine Art of Rap,” 459-479.

* First Learning and Contribution Reflection Paper Due by 12 noon Friday March 14 (in my English Department mailbox, HHH 405, or as an e-mail attachment [not Microsoft Works, Microsoft Publisher, or Microsoft Word docx formats]). *

3/24: Discussion, Readings from That’s the Joint!: the Hip-Hop Studies Reader and Related Issues.

    Read for Class: Nelson George, “Sample This,” 437-441; Thomas G. Schumacher, “‘This Is a Sampling Sport’: Digital Sampling, Rap Music, and the Law in Cultural Production,” 443-458; Keith Negus, “The Business of Rap: Between the Street and the Executive Suite,” 525-540; and Tricia Rose, “Contracting Rap: an Interview with Carmen Ashhurst-Watson,” 541-556.

3/26:  Discussion, Readings from That’s the Joint!: the Hip-Hop Studies Reader and Related Issues.

    Read for Class: Alan Light, “About a Salary or Reality?–Rap’s Recurrent Conflict,” 137-145; Gwendolyn D. Pough, “Seeds and Legacies: Tapping the Potential in Hip-Hop,” 283-289; Angela Ards, “Organizing the Hip-Hop Generation,” 311-323; and S. Craig Watkins, “Black Youth and the Ironies of Capitalism,” 557-578.

3/31: Discussion, Readings from Last Night a DJ Saved My Life: the History of the Disc-Jockey and Related Issues.

    Read for Class: Chapter 4, “Northern Soul: After Tonight Is All Over,” 73-105; and Chapter 5, “Reggae: Wreck Up a Version,” 107-122.

4/2: Discussion,  Readings from Last Night a DJ Saved My Life: the History of the Disc-Jockey and Related Issues.

    Read for Class: Chapter 6, “Disco: Love is The Message,” 123-164, and Chapter 7, “Disco 2: She Works Hard for the Money,” 165-202.

4/7: Discussion,  Readings from Last Night a DJ Saved My Life: the History of the Disc-Jockey and Related Issues.

    Read for Class: Chapter 8, “Hip Hop: Adventures on the Wheels of Steel,” 203-230, and Chapter 9, “Hip Hop 2: Planet Rock,” 231-265.

4/9: Discussion,  Readings from Last Night a DJ Saved My Life: the History of the Disc-Jockey and Related Issues.

    Read for Class: Chapter 10, “Garage: I’ll Take You to Paradise,” 267-289; Chapter 11, “House: Can You Feel It?,” 291-317; and Chapter 12, “Techno: the Sound,” 319-336.    

    * Second Learning and Contribution Reflection Paper Assigned. *

4/14: Discussion, Readings from Rhythm Science and Related Issues.            

    Read for Class: Rhythm Science, 1-59.

4/16: Discussion, Readings from Rhythm Science and Related Issues.

    Read for Class: Rhythm Science, 60-125.

4/21, 4/23, 4/28: Term Paper/Project Presentations, Part One.

* Second Learning and Contribution Reflection Paper Due by 5 pm Friday April 25 (in my English Department mailbox, HHH 405, or as an e-mail attachment [not Microsoft Works, Microsoft Publisher, or Microsoft Word docx formats]). *

4/30 and 5/1 (English Fest): Term Paper/Project Presentations, Part Two.

5/5, 5/7, and 5/14 (Final Examination Session): Term Paper/Project Presentations, Part Three.

* Finished Version of Term Paper/Project Due by 5 pm Thursday May 15 (in my English Department mailbox, HHH 405, or as an e-mail attachment [not Microsoft Works, Microsoft Publisher, or Microsoft Word docx formats]). *



    I expect students in this course to strive to become sincerely interested in learning about the subject matter of this course, and to be consistently intellectually serious as well as academically diligent in their pursuit of this learning.  I expect students to strive to bring actively to bear insights you gain through your engagement with the texts and topics addressed as part of this course–including through listening carefully and thoughtfully to a range of musical recordings (audio texts)–and I expect students to strive at the same time to relate these texts and topics as closely as possible to subjects of genuine interest and concern in your own lives.  Finally, I expect students to let me know right away when and if you have any questions or problems about any aspect of how you are doing in and with the course, so that I can do whatever I possibly can to help answer these questions and solve these problems.

    As this is a 400/600 level seminar, I also expect students will be prepared to take greater initiative than would be the case with a lower-level and non-seminar format class to actively share the responsibility, consistently, for presenting, explaining, and indeed teaching the rest of the class (and that certainly includes teaching me–I look forward to learning from, and with, you).  As students participating in an advanced level seminar I also expect that you will engage in extensive dialogue, exchange, and other forms of collaborative–indeed collective–work as a member of this class.  And this next point is especially important: you will need to be ready to work together with me, and with your classmates, in a consistently helpful and respectful manner at all times, and to make sure that you always are able clearly to distinguish critique of positions represented by fellow members of the class (and, for that matter, by various theorists, critics, journalists, historians, and musicians we will engage) from criticism of persons.  You may, from time to time, disagree with takes on various issues represented by your fellow classmates, by me, by writers we will read, and by musicians we will listen to and study, but you should aim to do so in a serious, thoughtful, and respectful manner, trying as best possible always first to understand where the other is coming from, how so and why so, in advancing this take, and to grasp what this other’s position indeed means in his or her own terms, as he or she understands it, in order effectively actually to argue versus and critique this position, rather than simply to reject, denounce, or oppose it.   


    The English Department aims to provide you with an intellectually challenging education. This means we will often include texts and introduce topics in our courses that candidly explore adult issues, including ones offering representations that may, on occasion, prove unsettling, disturbing, and even offensive to some of you.

    The higher educational academy is not a "safe space" separate from the rest of the "real world" where you can expect to be sheltered from encountering anything you might find disagreeable or objectionable.  On the contrary, we expect you to take up the challenge to confront these kinds of texts and topics in a mature, responsible way, and that means bringing directly to bear your negative reactions–including your reactions of shock, dismay, and discontent–in class discussions and in your writings and presentations for class.  If you find a position or practice represented in a text or topic included in the assigned reading (or listening) for class to be objectionable, it is therefore of crucial importance that you raise your objections openly and honestly, not simply claim personal exemption from having to see, hear, or talk, read, and write about these kinds of matters.  After all, disturbing positions and practices exist extensively outside of the classroom as well as in what we read, see, hear, and otherwise confront in and for class; what we confront in class exists in this institutional space as symptomatic of positions and practices that operate beyond the confines of the classroom, the course, and the university.  If and when you find any text or topic genuinely appalling, you maintain the ethical responsibility, as a mature adult and as a responsible citizen, not simply to try to hide from these positions and practices but rather to work to critique and change them.

    Students should expect therefore that you may well on occasion encounter representations that you will find troubling, in this UWEC course and in many others as well; within this Department you will receive no right of exemption from engaging with these and absolutely no welcome for simply complaining (especially to a higher administrative authority) about their inclusion.  Instead you should bring your objections forthrightly to bear in your contributions to class discussion.  

    Finally, to conclude this particular point of discussion, a professor differs from a high school teacher in many respects, but one key difference is that we maintain a principal professional, ethical responsibility forthrightly to represent the most advanced knowledges in our fields of expertise and to proceed from there to work toward their further development and dissemination.  In short, we must create, advocate for, and profess these knowledges; you should expect that your professors may from time to time take strong and indeed controversial positions on difficult and challenging issues, eschewing the pretense of disinterested neutrality.  To do anything less than assume this responsibility, and to do so with alacrity, would be to shirk our professorial responsibility and to render ourselves unworthy of maintaining our professorial position.    


    Education in the liberal arts represents the historic and central commitment of what we do together on this UW campus–not vocational training and pre-professional development.  The university administration and faculty support this commitment so strongly that they have asked that all syllabi include the official goals of the baccalaureate, which all our courses aim to help you achieve.  Here they are (in their newly revised, updated, and streamlined form):

1.    Knowledge of Human Culture and the Natural World

2.    Creative and Critical Thinking

3.    Effective Communication

4.    Individual and Social Responsibility

5.    Respect for Diversity Among People

These goals require your striving to meet them.  Striving means learning actively, completing assignments in a thorough and timely fashion, participating in class discussion, and making connections between what we do while meeting in class and what you do when engaged outside of the classroom.


    General Criteria: Evaluation of Student Performance

     In evaluating all work done for this course, I will take account of how carefully, seriously, intelligently, enthusiastically, and imaginatively students engage with the concepts, issues, positions, and arguments addressed in the course and represented by the texts we read and listen to, by me, and by each other.


    As an advanced-level seminar class this one depends upon the active, consistent contribution of everyone involved.  It is not simply my class; it is your class as much if not more than it is mine.  Best put, however, it is our class.  From time to time you may need to miss class for one reason or another.  Please let me know ahead of time if at all possible.  Also please try not to miss except for a genuinely serious problem or difficulty.  If you miss often your grade will suffer–and rightly so as you will be depriving everyone else of the value of your prospective contribution to our collective work, and our collective achievement.   And I also do expect students to arrive on time, and to stay through the end of class, as well as to be attentively focused throughout our class meetings entirely on what we are doing together as a class–not on matters having to do with other classes or other areas of your life.  Please turn off cell phones throughout class, and please do not use laptop computers in class for anything other than the work of this class.  

    Initial Short Paper

    To give you an early chance to try out some initial ideas about some of the issues we will engage this semester, as well as to give me an early sense of where you are coming from in terms of the kind and level of your preparation to deal with these issues, and to give you the chance to get some initial feedback from me, including on how you are doing grade-wise, I’m including an early assignment asking you to write a short critical analysis of a contemporary popular song of your choice.  I will give you a more precise explanation of what I would like you to do with the specific assignment itself, but you should note well that I will ask you to reflect on the music as well as–and in fact beyond–the lyrics with this assignment, and to do so as you are best able.  This is not meant as a particularly difficult assignment, by any means, and I hope that you will find it enjoyable as well as otherwise rewarding to pursue.  Your grade on this initial short paper will be worth 10% of the overall course grade.  And although I will not mandate a page or word target or limit, as a very rough guide you may think of this as a 5-8 page (or 1250 to 2000 word) paper.

    Short Presentations in Class

    Fitting with the fact that this is a seminar and you will be working actively and consistently to share the responsibility for initially explaining course material, I will ask each of you throughout the course of the semester to come to class prepared to explain–and often as part of explaining, illustrate–very specific points related to what we will be reading–and listening–for class.  For example, and this is not necessarily an example of an actual specific assignment–a student might explain what rhythm, harmony, melody, or a particular kind of each of these means.  Or you might report on a specific chord structure, riff, or groove.  Or you might report on some aspect of the capacities of a particular instrument or instrumental combination.  Or you might explain what a specific writer we are reading means by a critical concept she or he uses to make sense of the aesthetic/artistic or social/political significance of a specific group of punk, or hip-hop, or electronic musicians.  Or, if a writer refers to a specific musician’s repertoire, or to a specific musical genre or style, you may be asked to find and bring in a (single) recorded example of this to play for us.  Or you may be asked to do some research to give us more background about a particular place or time that seems to be formative of a particular musician’s–or musical movement’s–form, content, and/or style of expression.  Those are just a few possible examples.  Again these will be short, and they will not be unduly challenging assignments–not by any means.  Each member of the class will likely do this two to four times over the course of the semester–and as far as possible you will have the opportunity to volunteer for specific topics as they come up, and also to suggest ones yourselves to investigate and share with the class.  I expect these presentations will generally be no more than 10 minutes long maximum in each case.  Your total grade for these short presentations will be worth 10% of the overall course grade.    

    Learning and Contribution/Learning and Contribution Reflection Papers

What This is and Why it is Important

    My foremost aim in teaching this course is to help you learn something of significance and value.  I will judge you to a significant degree on what you learn, how–and how hard–you strive to learn, and on how–as well as how well–you contribute to learning for the rest of the class.

    You cannot learn or help others learn if you do not contribute.  If you don't contribute to the work of this class not only will you fail to derive as much gain from it as would be the case if you did contribute, but also you will deprive everyone else of the benefit of your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, values, knowledge, and experience.  In fact, to remain entirely passively silent throughout class, week after week, exploits the work of others who do actively engage.

Class Participation

    Although class participation is not identical with contribution to learning, the former is an important component of the latter.  Class participation represents a place to learn, not just a place in which to demonstrate what you have learned.  By raising questions, testing and trying out ideas, taking risks and making mistakes, you learn a great deal–and help others learn a great deal as well.  You learn through talking, not just talk to show what you have learned.   Don't hesitate to speak forth in class if you have anything at all to throw into the mix.

    At the same time, just talking a great deal does not necessarily mean that you are making a quality contribution to the class by aiding the learning that we aim to accomplish.  Quality of participation is much more important than quantity, although a sufficient quantity is necessary to insure quality.  Still, I want to emphasize here that I perceive talking for talking’s sake, especially talking which pulls us off on far-fetched tangents, which remains disconnected from and disengaged with the reading, the listening, and the rest of the class, or which effectively silences others, to be negative participation.

    Quality class participation does not, moreover, involve merely asking questions of me and responding to my questions; quality class participation requires you to work as assiduously as you can to advance a serious and substantial discussion with your peers as well as with me about the texts and topics subject to discussion.  Students should, therefore, be prepared to engage with and respond to each other in class discussion, and I will take note of how well you do so.

    As for evaluating class participation, I offer you the following as a rough guide:  Excellent = Regular responses, with consistently useful, insightful comments and questions; Good = Regular responses, with relevant and generally helpful comments and questions; OK = Less frequent responses, including occasional–and generally relevant as well as otherwise  generally helpful–questions and comments; Poor = Virtually entirely quiet and/or with a persistent tendency toward clearly irrelevant or otherwise clearly unhelpful questions and comments; and Failing = Engaging in behavior that shows lack of respect–and disrupts the learning process–for the class, for you and your fellow students, such as engaging in conversations while others are speaking, or attending to matters besides what we are focusing on as a class.  

Alternative Forms of Contribution

    Contribution to the class certainly can extend far beyond mere speaking in class: it may include a variety of ways in which you can bring to bear your insights to help yourself as well as the rest of us gain from the experience of this course.  At the same time, listening carefully, respectfully, and thoughtfully in class discussions is an important contribution to class as well.  I do recognize that quality contribution extends considerably beyond speaking frequently in class.  And I also certainly recognize that talking just for the sake of talking is not quality contribution.

Learning and Contribution Reflection Papers/Learning and Contribution Reflection Grades

    Learning and contribution will constitute a substantial proportion of your overall course grade.  A significant component of this will involve you writing two learning and contribution reflection papers.

    These papers provide you a useful opportunity to demonstrate how you are doing with the course.  Not only will you engage with texts, issues, positions, concepts, and arguments you will have read for–and we will have discussed in–class, along with the same in relation to a range of musical recordings (audio texts), but also you will thoughtfully reflect on your own individual learning and contribution.  As you are assessing your own learning and contribution, you may include thoughts in reaction to issues raised in class discussion that you did not have the opportunity or did not feel comfortable enough to share in class; these additional reflections will help me get a better sense of what you have been thinking about and how you have been responding to class discussions, as well as to the course readings.  I will take into account what you write in determining your learning and contribution grade for the preceding semester period; performance on these papers in fact represents the major component of your learning and contribution grade.

    I will provide you specific directions in the assignments I give you for each of these papers; please note well that the questions I ask you to address will change from reflection paper to reflection paper.

    The first learning and contribution grade (including the first learning and contribution reflection paper) will be worth 20% of the overall course grade, and the second learning and contribution grade (including the second learning and contribution reflection paper) will be worth 20% of the overall course grade.   Once again, although I will not mandate a page or word target or limit, as a very rough guide you may think of these as 8-12 page (or 2000 to 3000 word) papers.

    Term Papers/Projects

    Your major task this semester will be to prepare–and present–a term paper, or project, which you can do either individually or as a member of a group of your fellow classmates (the latter choice is up to you).  

    Your aim here will be to research, critically analyze, and critically reflect on the meaning, value, and significance of a specific music culture (or subculture), making use of concepts drawn from readings for this course–and, potentially as well, of other concepts from critical theory, cultural studies, and further readings in popular music studies scholarship.  This specific (sub)culture can be past or present, nearby or distant, locally concentrated or operating across local spatial–and temporal–boundaries.  It may also be a (sub)culture suggested by readings in any of the books I have ordered for you this semester (especially readings not assigned for class).  Whatever you choose, try to make it as narrow, precise, concrete, and specific as possible; try to make it something you genuinely are highly interested in–and perhaps already highly knowledgeable about; and try to make it something you think you can do a compelling job making sense of in intellectually serious terms, in particular ones akin to those you will encounter in the required readings for this course.  I will be happy to work with you throughout the process of working on this term paper (or project), and in fact I encourage you to seek my assistance as you proceed.  Relatively early in the semester I will ask you to turn in a prospectus for your term paper or project describing what specific music culture you propose to focus on, how, and why, so that I can give you suggestions and recommendations for how best to proceed with this focus.  

    By identifying this as a term paper or a term project I am inviting you to incorporate audio, visual, audio-visual, and/or performative components into this work as you are able and interested–and as you think would help make it all the more effective and compelling.   

    Finally, as I previously mentioned, in the course explanation statement, you will have the opportunity to present this paper, or project, in process, at three successive stages of development, before turning in a final version for a grade.  This way you will be able to receive constructive criticism from your classmates, from me, and, when you present a piece of your work as part of the English Festival, from a potentially wider audience as well.  In addition, as you are interested, I will invite you to make a portion of the presentation of your work a segment of one of my weekly radio shows on WHYS Community Radio (Insurgence, Thursdays from 10 pm to midnight) where you will be able to play a set or two short sets of your music as I talk with you (interview you) on the air about this music–and about your research, analysis, and reflection concerning it.  

    I will distribute further information, instructions, suggestions, and recommendations as the semester proceeds–first for the term paper or project prospectus, and second for the term paper or project itself.

    Your grade on this term paper or project will be worth 40% of the overall course grade.  And yet once more, although I will not mandate a page or word target or limit, as a very rough guide you may think of this as a 15-20 page (or 3750 to 5000 word) paper.

    Graduate Students  

    Any graduate students enrolled in this course will be expected to take on a greater role in helping direct the course of discussion, facilitate the logistics of getting course materials available to the class,  set up sessions for presentations of term papers, and prepare a more ambitious, higher-level, individual term paper or project than expected of undergraduate students.  Graduate students should consult with me early on so we can work together to decide on the precise details of what you will be doing as graduate student participants in this class.

    Undergraduate Capstone Students

    Any undergraduate student doing her or his capstone project as part of this course will prepare a more ambitious, higher-level, individual term paper or project than expected of the rest of the undergraduate students enrolled in the class.  Capstone students should consult with me early on so we can work together to decide on the precise details of what you will need to do with your term–and capstone–paper or project.

    Late Papers

    Late papers will receive a reduction of 1/3 of a letter grade per day late unless you have made previous arrangements to turn your paper in to me late due to a serious problem or emergency.                           


    Do not use anyone else's words without giving the author credit.  If I find out that you've plagiarized even part of a paper, you will have to re-write it, and you may even be dismissed from UWEC if the violation is serious–and extensive–enough.  If you echo any thoughts mentioned in class discussion add the letters CD in parenthetical citation after the sentence, viz: (Nowlan CD 9/25//07).


    I’d like to work with you to arrange a field trip relevant to the focus of this course for some point during the semester.  I’ve decided that I’d like to offer you the chance to help decide and arrange where this might be–and what we might do.   I’ll maintain the ultimate right to approve or disapprove of what you propose, but I’ll also be willing to spend the bulk of the cost–within reason–to make it possible for us to go wherever we go, and to do whatever we decide to do.  Usually field trips in my classes are one-day-long events, where we travel to Minneapolis and where I pay for the cost of the bus as well as help make any other additional arrangements that it is best someone in my position make.  And friends of students are always welcome to come along and join us in all that we do.  That’s just to give you an idea of what you might propose for a field trip.  But we could go elsewhere, other than Minneapolis, including right here in Eau Claire, if we can come up with an event or series of events on a single day that would seem to offer us a useful, interesting, and enjoyable way to enhance the experience of what we are studying together in this class.  If we do a field trip, students who contribute significantly toward organizing and arranging it will receive 5% extra credit for doing so, and everyone who attends–and participates–will receive 5% extra credit for doing that.  Consult with me as you come up with ideas, and we’ll aim to make something happen.      


    I encourage you to meet with me in conference during office hours or at another mutually convenient time to discuss any issue of interest or concern that you develop as a student in this course and as a member of this class.  I recognize the value of learning that takes place in conferences; I know this can at times be equally as important, and in fact occasionally even more important, than what takes place in class.  It also provides you an opportunity to contribute beyond what you say in class and write for class.  So please do not hesitate to meet with me at any time you think this might be helpful to you–or whenever you’d just like to talk further with me.   I want to help you in your understanding of issues addressed in texts (including audio texts in the form of diverse musical recordings) and discussions, as well as in your writing and participation.  And you may certainly also feel free to contact me by e-mail or by (my campus office) phone as well.  

    I really do like to get to know my students; students at this university continually demonstrate impressive ability, talent, knowledge, experience, insight, vitality, and good character.  I am lucky to get to know you; it enriches me.

    * Any student who has a disability and is in need of classroom accommodations, please contact the instructor and the Services for Students with Disabilities Office. *


    In the interest of accountability–me to you–I am here providing you links: 1.) to my statement of philosophy as a college teacher: http://people.uwec.edu/ranowlan/philosophy.htm; 2.) to my autobiographical profile: http://people.uwec.edu/ranowlan/PROFILE_.htm and http://www.myspace.com/insurgentseanmurphy (if you too are on myspace feel free to contact me to become myspace friends); and 3.) to my professional vita (the academic equivalent of a resume): http://people.uwec.edu/ranowlan/VITA.htm.  I encourage you to check these sites out; it is useful for you to know who your teacher is, what he’s about, and where he’s coming from–and I like to be very open, honest, and forthright with you about all of that.  I look forward to a great semester working together with you!