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Musical Cultures of the Gulf South Coordinate Major

The Gulf South produced a distinctive set of musical cultures that continues to influence national and international musical currents: jazz, blues, zydeco, Cajun music, and brass-band music. As a city central to the African diaspora, New Orleans gave birth to a pan-African regional culture equally influenced by immigrants from the Caribbean -- Cuba and Haiti, in particular -- as by the ruling nations of Spain and France.

The mission of this coordinate undergraduate major is to educate students in the underlying currents of these musical cultures through a historical grasp of the Atlantic slave trade, the rituals of expressive culture and resistance in the Caribbean, and the social, environmental, economic, and political history of the region. The Gulf South extends from Texas across the coasts of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, around Florida into the Caribbean, where Cuba lies a mere 90 miles away. "New Orleans music" is a rubric that stretches from ragtime to hiphop, and includes the city's seminal influence on rock and roll, funk, and rhythm and blues, as each assumed national form. New Orleans remains the site of a range of vibrant living cultural traditions, including the Mardi Gras Indians; the second-line culture of Social Aid and Pleasure clubs, and Creole and Cajun cuisine.

This coordinate major is offered under the auspices of the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South. Please contact MCGS program director Rebecca Snedeker with questions.


Musical Cultures of the Gulf South is an interdisciplinary, 27-credit program. Three required core courses encompass the fields of Anthropology, Ethnomusicology, History, Theatre and Dance, and Urban Geography. Electives courses are offered in African and African Diaspora Studies, Communication, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Economics, English, Environmental Studies, French, History, Theatre and Dance, Urban Studies. Students are welcome to petition program director for elective course credit for courses that are not cross-listed. Students must first declare a major in another discipline before declaring the MCGS coordinate major.


Core Classes (3) The following three courses are required.

Course Code Course Name
MCGS 2000 Introduction to the Musical Cultures of the Gulf South (Matt Sakakeeny- Music, Professor of Record; with units lead by Richard Campanella-Urban Geography, Rien Fertel-History, and Beverly Trask-Theatre and Dance)
MUSC 1900 Music in New Orleans (Matt Sakakeeny)
ANTH 3395 Ethnography of Performance in New Orleans and French Louisiana (Nick Spitzer)

3000-Level or Above Classes (3) From the electives listed below, students must take one 3000-level or above course in the fields of Music, History, and Anthropology.

Course Area Course Name
Music example: MUSC 3360 The Latin Tinge
History example: HISB 3230 The Atlantic Slave Trade
Anthropology example: ANTH 3093 Creoles and Creolization

Electives (3)

Students must take a minimum of 3 additional electives or nine credits from the courses listed in order to reach a minimum of 27 credits for the major. A total of two 1000-level courses can count towards the coordinate major. No more than two dance courses can count towards the major.

The courses listed below qualify or have qualified as electives for the MCGS major. Some of these courses are not currently being taught, but remain on the list to help convey this major’s scope of study. Again, students are welcome to petition program director for credit for courses not listed here.

Course Code Course Name
ADST 1550 New Orleans Hip Hop (Nghana Lewis)
ADST 2000 Introduction to African Diaspora (Chris Dunn)
ADST 3550 Black Music & Performance in New Orleans
AHST 3131 Urban Geography: New Orleans Case Study (Richard Campanella)
ANTH 3093 Creoles and Creolization (Nick Spitzer)
ANTH 4930 Languages of Louisiana (Nathalie Dajko)
COMM 2811 Media and Criminal Justice (Betsy Weiss)
COMM 3280 Media Histories (Vicki Mayer)
DANC 1910 African Dance I (Ausettua Amor Amenkum Jackson)
DANC 1950 Beginning Jazz I (Beverly Trask and Nicole Buckels)
DANC 2230 Introduction to Jazz Dance (Beverly Trask)
DANC 2910 African Dance II (Ausettua Amor Amenkum Jackson)
DANC 2950 Jazz Dance II (Ausettua Amor Amenkum Jackson)
DANC 3950 Jazz Dance III (Nicole Buckels)
DANC 3240 American/Afro-Caribbean Social and Vernacular Dance Forms (Beverly Trask)
DANC 4900 Building Community through the Arts (Barbara Hayley)
EBIO 2330 Natural History of Louisiana (Donata Henry)
ECON 4970 Economics of Slavery (Jonathan Pritchett)
ENLS 4420 Southern Literature (TBA)
FREN 4110/6110 Field Research on French in Louisiana (Tom Klingler/Natalie Dajko)
HISL 1720 Introduction to Caribbean History (Laura Rosanne Adderley)
HISB 3230 The Atlantic Slave Trade (Laura Rosanne Adderley)
HISL 4200 The History of Voodoo (Laura Rosanne Adderley)
HISL 6750 Africans in the Americas (Laura Rosanne Adderley)
HISU 1800 Early New Orleans (Emily Clark)
HISU 248 Louisiana History (Laura Kelley)
HISU 2610 The Old South (Randy Sparks)
HISU 2911 The Bloodiest War, 1861-1865 (Robert Blakeslee Gilpin)
HISU 3510 Atlantic World: 1450-1800 (Emily Clark)
HISU 3700 Introduction to African-American History: 1865-Present (Laura Rosanne Adderley)
HISU 3910 New Orleans Free People of Color (Emily Clark)
HISU 3690 African-American History to 1865 (Laura Rosanne Adderley)
HISU 4620 Autobiography and Southern Identity in the New South (Randy Sparks)
HISU 4694 The Creation of Jazz in New Orleans (Bruce Raeburn)
HISU 6420 American Revolutions (Emily Clark)
HISU 6560 Rise and Fall Plantation South (Randy Sparks)
HISU 6911 Slavery, Banjos and Moonshine (Robert Gilpin)
HISU 7620 Atlantic World Historiography (Emily Clark)
MUSC 3340 History of Jazz (David Kunian)
MUSC 3360 The Latin Tinge: Jazz and Latin American Music in New Orleans and Beyond (Dan Sharp)
MUSC 3430 The Blues In American Life (Matt Sakakeeny)
MUSC 3440 African American Music (Matt Sakakeeny)
MUSC 4930 Gospel Voices (Matt Sakakeeny)


Fall 2020 Courses

New Orleans & Gulf South Fall 2020 Courses

Past Course Offerings

Spring 2020
MCGS Spring Classes Poster

Fall 2019

Spring 2019

Fall 2018

Spring 2018

Fall 2017