ENG4543 – History and Culture of Anglo-American Rock Music

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

This course will survey the history of Anglo-American rock music from the 1950s to the early 1980s. It will trace the emergence of interracial pop, the rise of the genre during the postwar American economic boom, parallel developments in Britain, the influence of first-generation American artists on Britain, and the development of a new youth culture.

Film, texts, and music will be the primary materials used in the course. Throughout the semester students will be encouraged to think critically about the roots and longer history of rock music and how the genre has shaped the US, the UK, and the world. We will pay special attention to the historical and cultural context of rock, analyzing lyrics, performance, style, and music. 

Some questions we will consider include:

  • How did rock become the dominant genre of popular music?
  • What factors led to the popularity of certain bands and performers?
  • What are the key interpretive and scholarly debates?
  • What does the splintering of the genre tell us about cultural and social trends?
  • How was rock based on earlier styles of music?
  • In what ways did rock change society or politics?
  • How can we best understand the relationship between fans and musicians?

Learning outcome

After completing this course, you:

  • can identify and critique the significance events, terms, bands and artists covered in the course,
  • can analyze the social and cultural significance of various genres and regional patterns,
  • understand and can interpret the various scholarly approaches to the study of pop and rock music in the postwar Anglo-American world,
  • can critically analyze and narrate the social, cultural, and political developments related to rock music from the 1950s to the 1970s.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Recommended previous knowledge

Students should have a general familiarity with modern British and US history. Some understanding of key political, social, and cultural developments after 1945 will be especially helpful.

Good reading skills in English and a foundation in one or more of the following disciplines: history, English, political science, sociology, or the history of ideas.


Seminars, 2 hours per week for 10 weeks. 20 hours in all.

Obligatory activity:

  • It is obligatory to show up for a minimum of 60% of the teaching. In this course you have to attend 6 of 10 seminars. The requirement is absolute.

The allowed absence limit will cover all absences, including illness. You will not be granted valid absences with documentation, even when the absence is due to something beyond your control.

If the course has in-person teaching, and you are signed up for an in-person seminar group, you are to attend the teaching in the location found in the schedule.

If the course has digital teaching, and you are signed up for a digital seminar group, you must attend via Zoom with your camera on.

In certain circumstances, i.e. serious or chronic illness, you could apply for special needs accomodations.


All obligatory activities must be approved for you to sit the exam. All obligatory activities must be approved in the same semester. Approved obligatory attendance and assignments are only valid the semester you attend the course.


The form of assessment is a term paper of approximately 10 pages (a standard page consists of 2,300 characters). References and bibliography comes in addition.

You decide the topic of the term paper together with the lecturer. You will have the opportunity to turn in a draft paper for feedback.

Assessment guidelines

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit assignments in Inspera.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Examination support material

This course will use the Chicago Manual of Style available here.


Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

A term paper or equivalent that is passed may not be resubmitted in revised form.

If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Autumn 2022



This course is taught irregularly.


Autumn 2022

Teaching language