Sun Ra: Space is the Place (MPF2146.01)

Michael Wimberly

SUN RA…SPACE IS THE PLACE unfolds the life of Herman Poole Blount, (May 22, 1914 – May 30, 1993) founder and creator of the Sun Ra Arkestra. Considered a prolific composer of jazz and a pioneer of electronic music, Herman Blount, aka Le Sony’r Ra, better known as Sun Ra, was quite controversial for his electronic music and unorthodox lifestyle. He claimed he was of the “Angel Race” and not from Earth but from Saturn after experiencing an alien abduction. Sun Ra’s music touched on the entire history of jazz, from ragtime to swing, bebop to free jazz, electronic to space music. This course examines Sun Ra’s musical timeline with a greater focus on song lyrics, poetry, and his early beginnings and influences. Students will view landmark and related Sun Ra films for its poetic content, as well as present midterm and final projects inspired from the collection. Readings from the book; “Space Is The Place, The Lives And Times Of Sun Ra”, written by John F. Szwed, and “SUN RA Interviews and Essays”, Ed. by John Sinclair, are essential for class discussions.

Learning Outcomes:
• Building community through an intergalactic lens
• Learning about inequalities in urban America
• Creating in response to Sun Ra’s concepts, philosophies, and theories
• Understanding early origins of Afrofuturism

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Course Level: 2000-level
Credits: 2
M 1:40PM - 3:30PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 21
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: 2000 , All courses , Ethnomusicology , Fully In-Person , History , Performance , SCT , Two Credit
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