American History Captured in Song
This course reveals the reactions of people to catastrophic events in American history. As long as people are fed up with the status quo, protest songs have flourished. They are written to stimulate a movement for cultural or political change and galvanize that movement by drawing people together to act. In the first part of the course we will listen to “Yankee Doodle,” a song of mockery during the Revolutionary war, the history of the “Star-Spangled Banner” written during the War of 1812 and the bitter response, “Farewell to the Star-Spangled Banner” sung in the South during the Civil War and the circumstances surrounding Julia Howe's writing the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” to the tune of “John Brown's Body.” In the second part of the course we will focus on individuals and their songs of patriotism and protest. Listen to Woody Guthrie singing “This Land is Your Land,” Pete Seeger chanting “The Talking Blues,” Bob Dylan with “Blowing in the Wind” as well as Odetta, Lead Belly, Johnny Cash and Leonard Cohen. Many of the songs have a complex history that we will explore.
Stephen Kaufman is a retired pediatrician with advanced training in endocrinology, psychology, philosophy and human sexuality. He was in the private practice of pediatrics and endocrinology and a clinical professor of pediatrics at UCSF. He has published papers in leading medical journals as well as non-medical articles on travel, sports and fiction. Dr. Kaufman has taught and lectured at many Bay Area hospitals and has been interviewed on local media outlets.