Monday, November 23, 2009

HUM 223 - final

HUM 223 - Final Exam – Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009

Answer each of the three essay questions below; No. 1 is worth 50 points, and Nos. 2A and 2B are worth 25 points each. This is an open-book test, so in grading it I will take into account the amount of detail you use to support your answers as well as their clarity, correctness and relevance to the questions. Specific detail is very important; the more detail you cite to support your points, and the more logically you use it to prove your points, the better your grade. It’s that simple. So be specific. I am giving it to you now so you have the option of writing it early; you also have the option of writing it in Dawson 220 during the scheduled period, 1:30-3:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 10.

Essay #1 (50 points). On July 5, 1954, Sam Phillips of the Sun record label in Memphis heard a group of white musicians jamming on “That’s All Right” by African-American blues artist Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup. It was like nothing he’d ever heard before, and he had them cut a record right away, fronted by Elvis Presley. According to Robert Palmer, author of “Deep Blues,” that record was “the beginning of something very, very big, something anybody could have predicted, nobody could have stopped and perhaps only one person, Sam Phillips, could have started.” It was also an example of cultural appropriation, which occurs when an art form crosses over from a minority to a majority culture. More crossover occurred when white British musicians like Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones adopted the Mississippi delta and Chicago blues style of African American artists and made it their own in the 1960s and 70s. And the music crosses generational boundaries when younger artists like Corey Harris search back to the origins of blues and reflect them in other forms of music including jazz, rock and hip hop. How well, in your opinion, does blues transcend cultural, racial and generational boundaries? What is lost when the music crosses over cultural and generational boundary lines? What is gained? Be specific.

Short essay #2A (25 points). What have you learned in HUM 223 that surprised you? What was your overall impression of the blues before you took the course? Has that impression changed as a result of your reading, class discussion and research for the course? What specific thing (or things) surprised you the most? Why? What do you think was the most important point? As always, be specific. Cite specific evidence - in this case, while discussing what you learned in the course. Your grade on the essay will depend on the specific evidence you cite.

Short essay #2B (25 points). As you wrote your research paper, did you expect to learn when you started? What did you find out from your research that was unexpected? In other words, what surprised you? What new insights did you gain? What did you learn about the history of American popular music? Where did the musician(s) you studied fit into the development of blues, jazz, rock, hip hop or other forms of American popular music? How did your appreciation of their music change from doing the paper?

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