Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2023

Course Description

First-Year Seminars introduce students to college work and prepare students for the courses they will take later at DePauw. As seminars, these courses emphasize and nurture discussion and other skills essential to active student participation in their own educations. They are also each student’ s gateway into DePauw’s writing curriculum and emphasize writing skills that will be taken up and built upon across the curriculum. Seminars are offered as full credit courses to first-year students in the fall term. While First-Year Seminars differ from one another in topic and in the kind of assignments they ask students to complete, they are similar in the following ways. Each seminar: • creates a sense of intellectual community for the students and faculty member involved; • uses discussion as the primary basis for classroom learning; • emphasizes critical writing, thinking and reading; • encourages the academic growth and development of individual students; and • uses a variety of writing assignments, along with research, or problem-solving assignments, designed to give students skills and modes of analysis that will serve them well in their other courses at DePauw. But the course is also about music—specifically a broad, historical survey of popular music in America (music circulated by mass media) from the 19th to the 21st centuries (vaudeville to streaming). While the central narrative of the class will be the development of musical styles of popular songs (with an emphasis on developing critical listening skills), the course will also be concerned with the roles of race, gender, dance, fashion, slang, social justice, and evolving sound recording technologies in shaping American popular music styles.