American Undergrounds (SCT2140.02)

Anna Bean

Since the 1950s, “The Underground” is imagined as a privileged space of artistic innovation, political radicalism, and authentic selfhood. Even today, hip- hop musicians, as well as activist hackers, describe themselves as “underground” if they wish to emphasize their integrity. To be “underground” means a group is committed to keeping things real, to avoiding “selling out,” and to evading cooptation by a dominant order. But what does it mean to be underground in America? Where did the underground idea of America come from? What happens to politics and art when it is imagined as an “underground” (as opposed to mainstream) activity? Does the underground have a future in the “flat” global, digital world? This course offers a critical history of various American undergrounds, examining a series of defining moments and movements and potentially includes consideration of the underground slave railroad; black literary undergrounds; hipsters; artistic avant-gardes; underground cinema; queer undergrounds; the underground press; politically radical groups such as the Weather Underground and the Black Panthers; punk and hip-hop undergrounds; underground economies; and contemporary “digital undergrounds.”

Prerequisites: None.
Credits: 2
M 6:30pm - 8:30pm; Th 6:30pm - 8:30pm (second seven weeks)
Maximum Enrollment: 18
This course is categorized as 2000, All courses, Anna Bean, Monday and/or Thursday Afternoons, SCT, Second Seven Week, Two Credit, Updates.