Bob Dylan’s America (MSON) (History/Social Science OR Literature Elective; US)

Mari Foret

Fall; Grades 11–12 

Prerequisite: US History and American Literature (prior or concurrent) 

Taught by: University School of Nashville

May be taken as a history/social science or literature elective

Arguably the most influential, important, and closely scrutinized American artist of the past six decades, Bob Dylan is as difficult to define as the nation that produced him. Connecting his work to contemporary theories of cultural memory, this course looks at the ways in which Dylan, both in his music and his cultivation of various public personae, maps the contours of the national imagination and explores the prevailing attitudes of class, race, gender, and place in American culture.

Proceeding chronologically and using Dylan’s masterworks and subsequent official “bootleg” recordings as touchstones, students will consider a variety of texts, including poetry, fiction, and cultural history; biography and autobiography; and popular and documentary film, including Greil Marcus’ The Old, Weird America: The World of Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes (2001), Murray Lerner’s Festival (1967), D. A. Pennebaker’s Dont Look Back (1967), and Martin Scorsese’s No Direction Home (2005) and Rolling Thunder Review: A Bob Dylan Story (2015). Access to a music streaming service such as Spotify or Apple Music is required; access to video streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime is strongly recommended.

  • Humanities/Language Arts

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