Music and Popular Culture Minor

Music and Popular Culture emphasizes the study of music’s effect on mainstream cultural practices throughout history, as well as the impact of cultural factors on music from a given era or region of the world.

A drummer plays while fans crowd in front of the stage.
Greg Saunier ’91 of Deerhoof performing at the ’Sco.
Photo credit: Chris Schmucki ’22


This minor allows students to explore the role of music in popular culture, broadly defined as the traditions, practices, objects that dominate in a society at any given moment in history. In this minor, music serves as a lens through which one comes to understand mainstream cultural practices both historically and globally. And, the study of popular culture provides a vantage point for understanding music in broader social and historical context.

Students wishing to complete the Music & Popular Culture Minor should consult with an academic advisor or a member of the minor committee, and complete the Declaration of Music & Popular Culture Minor form.

Sample Courses

Study of Music & Related Arts

  • AAST 190 - West African Dance Forms in the Diaspora I: Survey
  • ETHN 302 - Musical Thought: Analysis of World Music
  • EAST 248 - Postwar Japan through Music and Film
  • HISP 440 - Music, Orality, and Literature in Hispanic Traditions
  • JAZZ 131 - Jazz Arranging and Composition
  • MHST 332 - History of Film Music
  • TECH 101- Intro to Electroacoustic Music
  • THEA 266 - Freak Show Performance

Study of Culture

  • ARTS 318 - Preserving Culture and Heritage: Past, Present, and Future
  • CINE 315 - Queer Media, Activism, and Thought in France: Case Studies
  • ENG 263 - Black English and Voice: An Introduction to Sociolinguistics
  • POLT 200 - Mass Politics in a Media Age
  • RHET 210 - Rhetoric and Social Protest
  • SOCI 432 - How Places Make Us: Sociology of Place and Space

Foundations in Popular Culture Studies

  • SOCI 250 - Sociology of Popular Culture
  • ANTH 101 - Introduction to Cultural Anthropology


Students must take 20 credits to complete the minor, with courses coming from at least three different departments. Students will also develop a learning portfolio with substantive pieces of work from each of the classes taken to fulfill the minor as well as a reflection piece that explicitly connects the learning outcomes in the different courses.

Faculty Liaisons