Academy of Lifelong Learning




Maria Wood



Mondays, March 18 – April 22 (six weeks) 4:15 – 5:30 pm

In 2015, Hamilton: An American Musical entered the American cultural landscape with a bold fervor paralleling that of its title character. The show, like its namesake, has made itself a force to be reckoned with in American social, cultural, and even political arenas. Hamilton’s influence continues to unspool through unprecedented commercial success, penetration of the popular culture, and ongoing participation in the public sphere. New works related to the show continue to enter the cultural marketplace, providing additional voices and perspectives in the conversations sparked by Hamilton. What qual- ities of these texts and what conditions of the world have converged to allow this show to have such a tremendous impact on American society, culture, and even public policy? This course will consider Hamilton: An American Musical as a work of art, a piece of cultural criticism, and an active participant in the national conversation about what it means to be an American. We will use musical works and video clips, coverage in the popular press, and other textual resources. No previous familiarity with Hamilton is required.

MARIA WOOD received a BA from Smith College and a Certificate of Ethnomusicology from the Five College Consortium of Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College and University of Massachusetts Amherst. She has pursued scholarly work on Hamilton: An American Musical since 2015 as a Student Fellow of the Kahn Liberal Arts Institute under an umbrella project titled “Shaping Perceptions,” and completed an Honors Thesis in American Studies titled “No John Trumbull: Social, Cultural, and Political Resonances of Hamilton: An American Musical.” Before returning to school as a non-traditional aged student, Maria co-founded a non-profit organization dedicated to using music to enhance traditional education, ran an independent record company, and managed a band that played music for children and families all over the United States.