MUS 113 Final Project 2019

Oral Presentation: Have technological changes had a positive or negative effect on black music and culture?


– Pick one innovation in audio technology of the past forty years. This could be something like a piece of hardware, such as the Walkman or mp3 player; a form of software, such as a streaming service or music-sharing platform; a video game; a new method of using existing technology, such as MTV or turntabling; or a new technique for playing, singing, or composing music, etc.

– Based on what you’ve learned in this class about the ways black music has engaged with the struggle for full citizenship for black Americans, do you think that the innovation you chose has had a positive or negative effect on that struggle?

– What impact has that technology had on the willingness of citizens to build what Dr. King called “The Beloved Community”? (See

As you sketch out your ideas, you may want to turn back to some of the readings we’ve explored over the semester, and some readings in your course reading packet that I did not require. Some suggestions:

From the CRP:

  • The excerpts from White Tears by Hari Kunzru. (Think about the effects that the remix created by Seth and Carter end up having upon the community.)
  • “Social Activism in Popular Culture: A Critical Review of the Disparate Responses to Beyoncé’s 2016 Super Bowl Performance,” Davidson and Dobris
  • “What the White Boy Means When He Says Yo,” Charles Aaron
  • “The End of an Aura: Nostalgia, Memory, and the Haunting of Hip Hop,” Roy Christopher

From the blog (remember to read all the linked content):

Here are some other readings that you may find helpful as you work on your presentation.

Do not limit your research to these sources, however! Use the library, library website, library databases, etc. I recommend making an appointment with librarian Dana Curtin at or 607-778-5249 to help with your research.

You will be presenting your work in class on December 10 and 12. Make sure to have audio/video to illustrate your ideas!

Grading Rubric for this project

In order to earn a good grade on this project, you will need to demonstrate your command of the following things:

  1. Your own original idea/thesis/argument.
  2. Evidence that supports your idea, gained through your own research (for instance, through using the sources listed above, and/or other sources of your own choosing, which you should be able to cite/name if asked).
  3. Your ability to present your findings, discovered in the course of your research, in such a way that your listeners (i.e. me and the rest of the class) can follow your line of reasoning, i.e. in a well-organized format.
  4. Your ability to respond to alternative or opposing perspectives and resolve any questions or contradictions.
  5. Your strategic use of digital media in your presentation to enhance your listeners’ understanding of your argument, and to add interest to your presentation.
  6. Your use of context-specific speech, i.e. formal/scholarly English, in your presentation.