This course is discontinued

NORAM4503 – Popular Music in the United States as a Reflection of American Culture

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course will present and analyze a selection of popular music genres, especially (but not exclusively) jazz, country, rock 'n' roll, rhythm 'n' blues, and rap, as characteristic expressions of the society and the culture that created them. This musical/cultural context will both be historical and contemporary, focusing on both important continuities and differences between then and now. The course will also to some extent consider how these expressions of American culture have contributed to the creation of the image of America that is current around the world. The course will make extensive use of audiovisual material as part of the teaching.

Learning outcome

The course attempts to give the students a relatively comprehensive understanding of what characterizes the chosen genres of popular music in the United States and of how these kinds of music are related to the society from which they have emerged. There will also be an emphasis on trying to develop the students' ability to think critically and describe analytically relevant topics from this special field within American popular culture.


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.

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

Minimum 3, maximum 15 students.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

Admission to the master program. Admission to the course is required.


The course is taught throughout the semester with 2 hours per week for ten weeks. There is a mid-term break (one week in autumn term, two weeks in spring term) during which the students are expected to prepare obligatory assignments (see below) and otherwise study on their own. 80% attendance is required.


The course uses portfolio assessment, where the portfolio consists of a seven-page essay plus a two-hour classroom exam.

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.

The results will be found on the StudentWeb within three weeks after the exam.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, 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 2010

Spring 2008


Autumn 2010

Teaching language