Rhythm Nation: The Evolution of American Popular Music

Fifty and Better Winter Session

Rhythm Nation: The Evolution of American Popular Music

What does America sound like? This course will examine Americans’ unique contributions to the fabric of sonic culture. We'll take a detailed look at several examples; the tavern songs of the revolutionary era; the folk songs of Appalachia; the jazz and blues movements emerging from the South; the explosion of rock and roll in the 1950s and 60s; and the development of hip hop in urban America of the 1970s and 80s. Along the way, we'll look at and listen to the wider historical context of these vital elements of American culture as we explore how music has been a fundamental part of the national experience.

David Parsons, PhD, received his doctorate in History from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). He is a professor and writer whose work focuses on the political, social, and cultural history of 20th century America. He has taught courses in U.S. history at CUNY and New York University, and hosts a long running weekly podcast on history and politics called The Nostalgia Trap. His book “Dangerous Grounds: Antiwar Coffeehouses and Military Dissent in the Vietnam Era” explores links between the civilian peace movement and the American military

Registration is required by Jan. 14. Cost is $40 per course. If you buy three courses, you get two free.

The Fifty and Better program was designed to offer university-level courses (no tests, no homework) taught by experts in the field, and to host social engagement activities for individuals age 50 and older.


Register by Friday, Jan. 14

Sponsored By
Fifty and Better


Christina Tierney
(805) 493-3290