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Popular Music in the 1980s

Subject code


Course Number



Course Long Title

Popular Music in the 1980s


This course considers a crucial period in contemporary popular music history, situating developments in new wave, rock, heavy metal, hip hop, R&B, punk, postpunk, ska, techno, house, country, and mainstream pop in relation to the broader social and cultural transformations of the period. In the same moment that new pop genres, MTV, and changes in the music industry created spaces for new subjectivities at the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and social class, artists and fans sought to navigate a period of dramatic change, in contexts ranging from the rise of new modalities of social conservatism to the expansion of global neoliberal capitalism. Students engage with pop songs, music videos, artist interviews, and scholarship in popular music studies and cultural studies.

Modes of Inquiry

Analysis and Critique [AC], Historical and Social Inquiry [HS]

Writing Credit

No writing designation

Offering Frequency

Offered with varying frequency