FYS 101 Birth of the Cool

This course will focus on the word "cool." We will study its introduction into American slang through jazz musicians in the early part of the 20th century, and explore some jazz history and music theory. How did the West African concept of "cool" come to play such a large part in U.S. cultural history? Additionally, students will explore images of "cool." How have these changed over the last hundred years? How have they stayed the same? What are the various political, artistic, philosophical and historical reasons for this? Our texts will include literature, historical narratives, various interdisciplinary critical readings, music, visual art and film. While most of the written assignments will be scholarly, there will also be a creative writing or artistic production to the course.