“Music is the universal language of mankind.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“Music can change the world because it can change people.” Bono

During the Fall 2016 semester, history majors enrolled in the Junior Research Seminar at Villanova University embarked on a multi-media and interdisciplinary examination of the cultural, social, political, and economic dimensions of music in American history from the end of the Civil War to the early 2000s. Focusing on the ways in which music reflected and shaped developments in American society -- in particular at the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality -- students analyzed the multi-ethnic origins of jazz in the late 1800s American South, the politics of folk during the Great Depression, Broadway musicals’ exploration of race in 1940s and 1950s America, the role of African American “Jazz Ambassadors” during the Cold War and Civil Rights eras, the impact of Rock & Roll on ‘60s culture and in Vietnam War protests, the emergence of the Hip-Hop Nation and Rap in the 1970s and beyond, and the censorship of these forms of musical and political expression. The research presented on this site reflects the study of these topics and others and uses the various methodological and analytical tools employed throughout the seminar.


Steven Baldwin, Dominic Cottone, Joseph Farmer, Frank Fazio, Jake Froccaro, John (Lennon) Griffin, Nykeia Jones, Elaina Snyder, Julia Taladay

Faculty Advisor
Dr. Paul C. Rosier, Department of History

Falvey Memorial Library Liaisons
Laura Bang, Digital & Special Collections Curatorial Assistant
David Uspal, Library Technology Development Specialist

With Special Thanks To
Michael Foight, Special Collections and Digital Library Coordinator
Jutta Seibert, Subject Librarian for History