Rock music is both a social and cultural force, as well as a means of personal and poetic expression. Every day we are exposed to popular music and might even find ourselves singing along to songs on our iPods, CD players, or radios. What if we had the opportunity and means to delve deeper into these same lyrics, exploring them critically, analyzing their use of poetic language, discovering the social and cultural influences that shaped the lives of the songwriters, and then applying those same critical skills in making sense of our day-to-day lives? In our class, each of you will develop your own set of criteria in determining the meaning and worth of rock lyrics as art and social commentary. You will exchange views with your peers, see what you have in common with other members of the class in terms of your sensibilities and tastes, and will see the world through someone else's perspective. We will also examine a critical issue from a global point of view, where we will research rock music and lyrics from bands originating from other countries and cultures. Our Global Rock Muse will be the Clash's Joe Strummer, who was born to Scottish and Armenian parents in Ankara, Turkey; was raised there as well as in Tehran, Iran; Cairo; Mexico City; London; and Blantyre and Malawi in Southern Africa. Joe was "global" before the concept became popular. Lastly, the experience of bringing artists and listeners together as members of a community is a return to the ritual power of the word, to poetry that first began in song, and to a force that unites us in revealing our interior and collective truths. As art, and as social and cultural constructs, rock lyrics serve as a natural gateway to a larger world.