More than fifty years after the band's founding, the Grateful Dead looms larger than ever. From Haight-Ashbury acid-testers to visionary entrepreneurs, the band that grew up and out of the revolutions of the tumultuous 1960s found a way to mix everything from roots music to free jazz to rock into an "endless tour" that put them in the Fortune 500. The Grateful Dead provided a cultural soundtrack for not only the 1960s, but also the paranoia of the Watergate years, the Reagan-soaked 1980s, and on to the jam-band present. This course will focus on the band's performance of authentic "Americanness" throughout its half century run. We'll listen to their music, and also to their fans, enthusiasts, and scholars. We'll understand the various subcultures that separate the sixties and now, and in doing so, offer answers to this key question: Why do the Dead survive? (Elective for English, Theater, and Music)