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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 16/03/2022 20:03:58

Title of Module: Popular Music: History & Politics

Code: MUSC07015 SCQF Level: 7
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Business & Creative Industries
Module Co-ordinator:Kenneth  Forbes

Summary of Module

As a module Popular Music: History & Politics traces the development of contemporary forms of popular music by analysing the historical impact of key developments within art, performance and popular music within a socio-political context.

Through a series of interactive lectures and seminars, students will effectively experience the development of these strands of popular culture, with the links between these elements serving to provide participants with the capacity to gain a cohesive and cross-disciplinary overview of popular music and the creative arts as they stand in the twenty-first century. Students will, be expected to articulate their knowledge and understanding of the critical theories and key themes that emerge from the module by means of a written essay, or through an assessed presentation. 

This process will thus help to lay the foundation for students to engage with further, more intensive, interaction with Popular Music Studies in subsequent modules within their own subject areas. 


  • Art Movements, Aesthetics, Audiences, Creative and Cultural Industries, Film and Music Genres, Media Recordings, Performance, and Subcultures.

  • Rock Against Racism, Disco and Dance Culture, Rap and Hip Hop, Riot Grrrl

  • An encapsulation of the key themes and concepts that underpin Art, Music, Performance and the Social Sciences, all towards a fuller understanding of the inter-disciplinary nature of the Creative Arts.

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:


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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1


Term 2check markTerm 3


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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. To demonstrate the historical impact of key developments within art, performance and popular music from a socio-political perspective.

L2. To describe critical issues and demonstrate engagement with discourse on key developments that serve to historically shape art, performance and popular music.

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 7.

Understanding the relevance of music and music making to societies past and present

Exploring musical repertoires and their cultural contexts

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 7.

Skills of research and exploration; gathering, synthesis and evaluation of evidence, including the ability to quote from and acknowledge written sources in the study of popular music history.

The ability to examine assumptions in the light of evidence.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 7.

Present and evaluate collaborative music practice.

Address defined music briefs using a range of performance approaches

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 7.

The ability to employ reasoning and logic in order to analyse data, and to formulate relevant arguments and hypotheses in the study of popular music history and the social impact of rock and roll music.

The ability to plan, implement, evaluate and reflect critically on work in progress.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 7.

Ability to work as an integrated member of a team, forming arguments for musical and socio political debate.

Skills in public presentation including an awareness of audience characteristics and responses.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
The module introduces relevant material in a series of lectures with class discussion and seminars.
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery30
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity6
Independent Study164
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Echols, A. (2010) Hot stuff: Disco and the remaking of American culture. New York: WW Norton & Company.

Cateforis, T. (ed.) (2018). The rock history reader. London and New York: Routledge.

Inglis, I. (ed.) (2017) Performance and popular music: history, place and time. New York: Routledge.

Sloan, N. and Harding, C. (2019) Switched on Pop: How Popular Music Works, and why it Matters. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Stanley, B. (2015) Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! The Story of Modern Pop From Bill Haley to Beyonce. London: W.W. Norton & Co.

Whiteley, S. (ed.) (1997) Sexing the groove: Popular music and gender. New York: Routledge.

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardArts & Media
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelArts & Media
ModeratorJim Prime
External ExaminerRaphael Nowak
Accreditation DetailsJAMES
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Essay Draft (20%) – 750 word overview and plan of proposed essay or presentation topic

Essay or Presentation (80%) – 2,500-word essay or 20-minute presentation, which provides a critical analysis of a creative/music-related entity from popular music history
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Essaycheck mark 203

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Essay check mark800
Combined Total For All Components100% 3 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
Aligned with the overall commitment to equality and diversity stated in the Programme Specifications, the module supports equality of opportunity for students from all backgrounds and with different learning needs. Using Moodle, learning materials will be presented electronically in formats that allow flexible access and manipulation of content. The module complies with University regulations and guidance on inclusive learning and teaching practice. Specialist assistive equipment, support provision and adjustment to assessment practice will be made in accordance with UWS policy and regulations. The University’s Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Policy can be accessed at the following link:
UWS Equality and Diversity Policy.

Our partners are fully committed to the principles and practice of inclusiveness and our modules are designed to be accessible to all. Where this module is delivered overseas, local equivalent support for students and appropriate legislation applies.
UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.