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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

MUSS2125 Music, Culture, Politics: the Long Sixties

20 creditsClass Size: 50

Module manager: Dr Stan Erraught

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The ‘long’ sixties (1958-1974) is an era in which popular music assumed an unprecedented cultural centrality and social and political significance, particularly in the USA and the UK. Music played a key part at the time in the ways in which social and political change was negotiated and understood, and remains crucial to our understanding of that era. In this module we will look at matters such as the interaction between popular music and the Civil Rights movement, the various discourses around ‘Black Power’, gender politics, the relationship between folk and rock music and the war in Vietnam, psychedelia, and the role of the Beatles in transforming the music industry. We will also consider the aftermath of the 1960s – how the social, political and artistic gains of the decade played out as popular music was refracted through new forms, such as the beginnings of punk and the birth of disco.


The module is designed to introduce students to the body of research and repertoire associated with music, culture and politics of the ‘long’ 1960s (1958-1974). Students will engage with relevant scholarship to develop critical and analytical skills appropriate to the study of these musics and their contexts. The module also supports the development of broader research and writing skills through dedicated sessions focused in these areas.

Learning outcomes
1. Demonstrate the broadening of their musical knowledge through musicological study of the music, culture and politics of the ‘long’ 1960s.
2. Evaluate sources to show critical understanding of a body of research.
3. Apply appropriate historical, analytical, critical and comparative methodologies to the articulation and development of arguments.
4. Demonstrate the development of research, and essay-writing skills.


Taught sessions will usually focus on specific topics from within the broad area of music, culture and politics in the ‘long’ 1960s, offering a holistic exploration of the subject and more focused investigation of key aspects of these musics. Lectures will be structured around a synthesis of social and political context, and defined and closely investigated musical examples, in order to demonstrate how musical and social practices reflected each other and in turn nested within a particular historical context.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.75
Total Contact hours22.25
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)203.00

Private study

4 hours evaluation of notes per topic lecture: 28 hours
7 hours reading and listening per topic lecture or seminar: 70 hours
Skills lectures preparation: 12 hours
Work towards assessment: 70.75 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Formative feedback will be provided on the literature review assignment through a plenary feedback seminar session, enabling all students to benefit from knowledge about common errors and examples of best practice from across the cohort. Formative feedback will also be provided through contribution to class discussions in lectures and seminars, and in the module tutorial.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3800-4200 words70.00
Literature Review1400-1600 words30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 09/06/2023 10:30:58


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