digital humanities · teaching · technology

interview about Bebop to Hip Hop course


In a little under an hour, I head to the second meeting for my “Bebop to Hip Hop: Young America and Music” class. This year, it’s a lecture. That means the performance part of teaching had better be thoughtfully presented.

Or maybe I just want to survive the moment. We’re discussing technology in the postwar period today. Part of that discussion involves addressing how we get from vinyl records to other forms of listening to music and back to vinyl records again.

Technology resonates today because it was a big issue in my “American Civilization to 1865” course an hour ago. I’ll spare you the details and say instead it’s amazing how I am still thinking of backup plans for the next class that include something as basic talking to my students rather than showing them videos or playing music because the things that are supposed to make course content easier to process – think of anything involving an electrical outlet  – are not always reliable.

We will discuss the “postwar story” in musician George Clinton‘s music and life today.

I even have a boom box on my desk today. And it’s not just because I want to show my students how to complete an upcoming assignment, which involves them making mixtapes. It’s  because I have an old CD featuring Parliament-Funkadelic music that I will use if we can’t, say, access Youtube (finding the postwar story on George Clinton is on the agenda today in addition to talking about technology. Who else but the man who helped make the Mothership relevant can help us address technology?).

I’ll leave it there and say I am still excited about this class and the Aug. 29 event at the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center where their collective playlist will be featured. I am also excited about a just-posted interview about how I teach in this course. Check it out here. And  Roll Tide! Yes, I need a football game right about now.

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