African American music has long served as the subject of and inspiration for a broad range of black critical and cultural practices. This course will explore the discourses that have developed around the music as a means of exploring several central concerns of American Cultural Studies. Among these are questions of national identity, cultural value, authenticity, tradition, innovation, improvosation, hybridity and commodification. In addition we will explore the intersection between black cultural studies and whiteness studies through a consideration of writings on jazz. Although we will disucuss these issues in relation to to musics as diverse as the spirituals and rap, our primary focus will be on jazz. Readings will include fiction, non-fiction, criticism and theory by writers such as Houston Baker, Angela Davis, Jean Toomer, Hazel Carby, Eric Lott, Jon Pannish, Amiri Baraka, Gayle Jones, Michael Ondatjee, Nathaniel Mackey and Theodor Adorno. Students are also expected to attend several screenings of jazz films throughout the semester.