• Class Number 3031
  • Term Code 3130
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Jos Mulder
    • Dr Jos Mulder
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 22/02/2021
  • Class End Date 28/05/2021
  • Census Date 31/03/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 01/03/2021
SELT Survey Results

The impact of Western popular music transcends its origins in composition, recorded artefact and concert performance. Popular music and politics are inextricably linked. In just a few decades, popular music has [re]defined [sub]cultures, influenced politics & policy and empowered minority groups. Drawing upon extensive examples and contemporary scholarship, this course explores how and why contemporary popular music is one of the most widespread, meaningful, and influential cultural phenomena in the world today. Avoiding a chronological or historical approach, this course examines the political significance of popular music through a variety of cultural and contextual lens, including music aesthetics, textual analysis, race, gender and sexuality. Cultural-theoretical backdrops include a consideration of sound recording technology, ethnomusicology, feminism and 'queer theory'. Case study examples taken from broad genre spectra will illuminate the social impact of popular music and its relationship[s] to particular cultural themes such as identity, censorship and violence.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Describe the interrelationship[s] between popular music, culture and politics from several theoretical perspectives applying appropriate research methology;
  2. Evaluate the role, significance and influence of popular music across cultural, sociological and political contexts;
  3. Speculate on the potential influence of popular music on the culture[s] and politics of the future;
  4. Critically analyse popular music using appropriate tools and descriptors specific to the discipline;
  5. Demonstrate a high level of research, written and oral communication skills on the culture and politics of popular music

Research-Led Teaching

This course is delivered over 12 weeks in Semester 1. Each week, a key topic in popular music studies will be explored in depth via a lecture or seminar, with theoretical elements drawn from contemporary popular music scholarship. Additionally, relevant scholarly readings and specific track playlists accompany each session and are used to complement the class content by way of guided independent study. Furthermore, various online activities - to include discussion threads and wikis - will be used to encourage further engagement with the course.

Required Resources

Bennett, A. (2001) Cultures of Popular Music. Open University Press.

Middleton, R. (1990) Studying Popular Music. Open University Press.

Moore, A. (2012) Song Means: Analysing and Interpreting Recorded Popular Song. Ashgate.

Negus, K. (1996) Popular Music in Theory - An Introduction. Polity Press.

A Spotify account is recommended.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Lecture: Course Introduction Tutorial: Assessment 1 brief
2 Lecture: Text Tutorial: Subject Tutorial
3 Lecture: Phonography Tutorial: Subject Tutorial
4 Lecture: Analysis & Meaning Tutorial: Subject Tutorial
5 Lecture: Politics Tutorial: Subject Tutorial
6 Lecture: [Sub]Culture Tutorial: Assessment 2 brief
7 Lecture: Feminism Tutorial: Subject Tutorial
8 Lecture: Audience Tutorial: Subject Tutorial
9 Lecture: Violence Tutorial: Subject Tutorial
10 Lecture: Sexuality Tutorial: Assessment 2 tutorials / feedback
11 Lecture: Race Tutorial: Assessment 2 tutorials / feedback
12 Lecture: e-Presentations Tutorial: Reflection & SELT Assessment 2 - Deadline: Week 12

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value
33 1/3 Book Review & Corresponding Album Analysis 50 %
Popular Music Culture and Context e-­Presentation 50 %

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 50 %
Learning Outcomes: 

33 1/3 Book Review & Corresponding Album Analysis

The 33 1/3 series of books is published by Bloomsbury Academic. There are currently more than 120 titles in the series; each book deals with one album from the popular music and rock repertoire. Author approaches vary significantly throughout the series, thus complementing the teaching and learning content featured in this module.

Using appropriate analytical tools specific to the study of popular music, as well as reference to scholarly sources, students will conduct an individual, 3000-word critique of a 33 1/3 series book and the corresponding album.

Length: 3000 words.

This assessment covers learning outcomes 1, 4 and 5.

Weighting: 50%

Deadline: Thursday Week 7

Assessment delivery method: upload to Turnitin via Wattle


Criteria 1

Evidence of an individual investigation, understanding and interpretation of existing scholarly enquiry.

Criteria 2

Application of relevant analytical tools and descriptors specific to the study of the set topic.

Criteria 3

Synthesis of research, both theoretical and analytical, into a structured and coherent body of work.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 50 %
Learning Outcomes: 

Popular Music Culture and Context e-­Presentation

Convincing scholarly audiences of the importance of popular music studies is an important, ongoing issue for academics working in the discipline. The ways in which we articulate the importance of our topic is vital.

In pairs, students will research their own choice of narrow topic on a popular music, culture and/ or political theme. Students will synthesise their research into an e-presentation to contain multimedia elements [eg. images, film, audio, web links] Presentations will be conducted to the class cohort and assessor, with time allocated for questioning.

Length: 10 minutes + Q&A.

This assessment covers learning outcomes 2, 3 and 5.

Weighting: 50%

Deadline: Week 12


Assessment delivery method: in class


Criteria 1

Evidence of an individual investigation, understanding and interpretation of existing scholarly enquiry.

Criteria 2

Application of relevant analytical tools and descriptors specific to the study of the set topic.

Criteria 3

Synthesis of research, both theoretical and analytical, into a structured and coherent body of work.

Criteria 4

Articulation of argument, depth of investigation and level of criticality.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.

The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
  • Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr Jos Mulder

Research Interests

MUSI3317 - Pop Music Culture & Context Popular Music

Dr Jos Mulder

By Appointment
By Appointment
Dr Jos Mulder

Research Interests

Dr Jos Mulder

By Appointment
By Appointment

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