From Occupy to #Casseroles: Urban Music and Social Protest 2.0


For our final meeting, we will be discussing sonic strategies of social protest following the global Occupy protests. We will be reading this short essay by leading sound studies scholar Jonathan Sterne on the unique soundscape of the student protests in Quebéc known as “casseroles” or for the more twitter oriented, “#casseroles.” We will also be reading this article on the anti-nuclear protests in post-Fukushima Japan by ethnomusicologists and theorist Noriko Manabe.

I’ll be uploading the sounds and music associated with Monday’s class by the weekend. Here is a link to the music for Monday. I blame the delay in getting these to you on the difficulty of letting this class come to a close.



The Sixties in North America

Here is the listening for tomorrow’s class, drawing from examples in both of the readings. Considering that rock and soul music from mid-60s through the mid-70s is effectively the canon for histories of rock ‘n’ roll and popular music in general, it was exceedingly difficult to choose examples that can address the ways that the different counterpublics attempted to change the political status quo in the United States. I ended up choosing some lesser-known examples that I think exemplify some of the major trends in music protest from the decade that we haven’t already addressed in the class. As you prepare for tomorrow’s class, consider how Ward and Gitlin’s perspectives differ in how they address the same general period of music-making and the interrelationships between the ’60s counterculture and the rising black consciousness associated with soul music.

Also, I plan for discussion to at least partially address Brad Paisley’s “Accidental Racist.” If you have avoided stumbling into this media spectacle, here are some good places to start.

Stokely Carmichael


Nueva Canción and Protest Song in Latin America


This week, we turn our attention to Latin America. On Monday, we’ll discuss Nueva Canción in Chile and Argentina. In addition to the chapter by Pablo Vila in Rockin’ The Boat, we’ll also be discussing this article by Jeffrey Taffet.

On Thursday, we’ll be discussing Nueva Trova in Cuba and MPB in Brazil. Please read the chapter on Nueva Trova in Moore’s Music and Revolution and this chapter by renowned Brazilianist (and professor of Portuguese at University of Florida) Charles Perrone.

The musicians and songs we’ll be discussing had antagonistic relationships with the rise of dictatorships in South American countries. In the last year or so, some of these nations have taken steps to reconcile the past. Over the last week, many news outlets have been covering the exhumation of Chilean poet (and outspoken communist dissident) Pablo Neruda to determine his cause of death just after Augusto Pinochet seized power in 1973. Similarly, just a few months ago, the agents of the Pinochet regime who murdered Nueva Canción singing Víctor Jara were finally arrested. And over the last year, the Brazilian government formed a “Truth Commission” to help shine some light on the horrors of the decades of the dictatorship that began in 1964 and gradually ended in the 1980s.

Needless to say, our topics over the next week are very timely.

Here is the listening for the week.


Materials for Week 6

For week 6, we begin our 3-day examination of music and revolution in France. For Monday, we will read Herbert Schneider’s “The Sung Constitutions of 1792,” an examination on music an propaganda in the late 18th century. It’s difficult to overstate the importance of the French Revolution. Despite ending with Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo, its effects were felt all the way through World War I (including countless additional revolutions in France and elsewhere).

For Thursday, we’ll be reading the first chapter from Eric Drott’s Music and the Elusive Revolution on the May 1968 protests. We’ll be continuing our examination of the effects of May ’68 in Week 7 as well.

ETA: Updated Music for Monday is available here.


Materials for Week 5

As discussed in class and on the syllabus, all of the reading for this week is available in Robin Moore’s book Music and Revolution about music in the Cuban revolution. For Monday, we are reading chapters 1 and 2. We’ll discuss chapter 4 for Thursday.

Here is a link to this week’s music. You’ll notice that the reading provided considerably more music to choose from this week. It was quite difficult to pare down the listening to just 12 examples.

Music for Week 2

The listening for this week is meant to elaborate on the theoretical concepts in the reading. Thus, it is more eclectic than it normally would be. You will notice that I have provided an audio recording of Wilhem Furtwängler and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra performing the end of the Finale of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 on April 19, 1942. Here is the accompanying video which should make the accompanying German introduction make more sense. (A recording of the full symphony as recorded one month prior is available on youtube.)

Music for Wk 1: Social Change and the Music Industry

As promised, here is a link to the listening for the first week. I have included three multi-artist activist recordings. While “We Are The World” is the most famous of the bunch, there is also “Sun City” and Sean Lennon’s remake of “Give Peace a Chance,” a little-remembered protest of the first Gulf War (the really short, popular gulf war). For many of these multi-artist recordings, it can be a fun game of pop music trivia to figure out whose voice you hear for a verse without seeing the accompanying video.