Mini-Class in Blog Form

Mini-classes are next week, and thus, we professors and instructors must get the word out to enterprising students about our courses. I’m assuming that if you found the class blog, you have already taken a class with me or you found the link on NewDLE. Welcome! I’m scheduled to give my mini-class on Thursday, January 31st, at 11:20AM. Still, some advance information is useful, no?

Required Texts:

Robin Moore, Music and Revolution: Cultural Change in Socialist Cuba (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006).

Reebee Garofalo, Rockin’ The Boat: Mass Music and Mass Movements (Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 1992).

I’m still waiting for South End Press to acknowledge that I have requested the book for the class. We shall see how that goes…

Course Description:

Every day, diverse groups of people attempt to challenge political and social injustice through musical expression. This course explores the efforts to effect social change from global musical communities in the 20th century and beyond. We will utilize an interdisciplinary framework to study musical examples and their accompanying sounds and silences from persons who have sought to address different kinds of social injustice (racial, ethnic, economic, and more). After examining theoretical writings on the efficacy of music as an agent of social change and its role community development, we will explore cases where music was a prominent voice in social protest movements. We will also address how music has expressed the tensions between different racial and ethnic groups, social classes, and people with differing political ideologies. We will cover examples from Chile, China, Cuba, England, France, Greece, Ireland, Japan, Somalia, South Africa, the United States, and Brazil among others. Students will have the opportunity to produce creative projects in place of written assignments.

Course Structure and Evaluations:

Music and Social Protest is comprised of 4 units (2 per module):

  1. a theoretical unit on ideology, politics, and music
  2. music’s role in political revolutions (focusing on Iran, France, Cuba, and the so-called “Arab Spring”)
  3. music as a response to censorship and political oppression
  4. protest music from the United States

Evaluations will be based on:

  • 3 brief papers from the first module (20 percent)
  • work towards a larger project in the second module, including proposal, a first draft, and a final draft (55 percent)
  • class participation (25 percent)

Projects can be creative or they can be traditional academic papers based on either historical research or a mini-ethnography.

Class FAQ’s:

  • What is your capping policy? Third and fourth year students get priority, as do students who have made an effort to lobby for this class as part of the spring course offerings. (Thanks everyone!) Beyond the 5-6 students who have already contacted me to be in the class, I’ll be accepting up to 15 more, based on a) arriving on-time the first day of class, b) AOC (I want to balance Music, Humanities, Sociology, Political Science, and History), and c) academic record.
  • Are there any prerequisites? No, but you should have prior experience with college-level writing.
  • What if I can’t afford to buy the textbooks? Both texts are available for up to half the retail price through online retailers such as Amazon. Music and Revolution is also available as an eBook and it will be on reserve in the library. [ETA: Rockin’ The Boat is available for loans through the internet archive. You must join to read the book online.]
  • How can I contact you outside of class? I will only be on campus Mondays and Thursdays prior to class (I teach a different class at Ringling College) until the end of April. If you need to meet with me and those times don’t work, contact me online. I’m a social network butterfly (excluding facebook).
  • I would like this class to count towards the Gender Studies program. Will that work? Yes, especially if you do your final project on a project directly involving gender.