New Course in United States History

"Motown to Hip Hop"

This course explores black modern music from the Civil Rights era to the present. Looking specifically at the genres of soul, funk, jazz, and hip-hop, it takes a bold, sweeping look at the role of popular music in African Americans’ push for self-definition, political power, and social recognition. Students will consider how musical expression and consumption have provided black women and men with a vehicle for entertainment, community building, political organizing, and economic uplift.  Some of the artists that we will explore in-depth include but are not limited to James Brown,  Sam Cooke, the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, Nina Simone, Public Enemy, Earth, Wind and Fire, Parliament-Funkadelic, Luther Vandross,  Whitney Houston, Lauryn Hill,  Tribe Called Quest, Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, and D’Angelo. Through an engagement with these and other artists’ sonic and visual representations, students will address larger questions surrounding the political power of music in American society.

Corcoran Department of History
University of Virginia
Nau Hall - South Lawn
Charlottesville, VA 22904


(434) 924-7147
(434) 924-7891
M-F 8am to 4:30pm
Department Contacts