U of Guelph graduate student Erin Schuurs (PhD. History)

My name is Erin Schuurs and I am a PhD student
in the History department at the University of Guelph Essentially I wanted to know why country music is such a divisive genre of music. It’s a
genre that seems to divide people into two factions. There are people who are fiercely
loyal to country music, they think that it’s very traditional and that is has a lot more
authenticity than say top 40 popular music does And so they find a lot of value in it.
Whereas others who really dismiss the genre, they call it, they see it as redneck music,
hillbilly, hick music and they think that it’s unbearable to listen to, that there is
no musical talent involved. I found that this conversation was nothing
new, this is the same conversation that people were having when country music first
emerged in the 1920s. And so looking at that, and looking at how
country music has progressed in Canada throughout the 1920s up to about the 1980s, this is a
conversation that is perpetually coming up and it seems to stem from the cultural hierarchies
which have become entrenched in our institutions and these inform how Canadians process cultural
products like country music. What I like about this program is that the
department is very supportive of the graduate students. One of the things that I particularly like is that the host professional development
seminars throughout the year and these help us learn skills like publishing, how to go
to conferences, how to write grants. Tyey help us feel like the professors are sharing
their insight with us and they are helping prepare us for whatever career path
we want to go down.

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