Punk, Riot Grrrl, Queercore etc.

For the last full week of classes, we’ll be discussing punk music’s engagements with political movements in the U.S. and England. For Monday, we’ll be reading this essay by Kevin Dunn from an edited collection on Music and Human Rights as well as Simon Frith and John Street’s essay on Rock Against Racism in Rockin’ The Boat. These readings should prove especially resonant for those of you covering a punk-related artist for your final projects. For Thursday, we’ll be discussing Riot Grrrl, third-wave feminism, and queercore. I know I mentioned Elizabeth Keenan‘s work in class today, but I’d like to reiterate that she’s the unique ethnomusicologist who is also at home doing historical work. We’ll be reading Keenan’s article (UPDATED link here) on pop music and third-wave feminism in addition to this article on queercore.

I’ll be posting the listening for next week tomorrow. UPDATE: Here is the music for this week. It was stupidly difficult to pick tracks, and I look forward to this week’s discussion.


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 the Iron Curtain

Alfred Schnittke

Next week we’ll be talking about the influence of the Soviet Union and Russia on the politics of music-making. Coincidentally, half of the readings are by scholars with local connections. For Monday, we’ll be talking about classical music and popular music behind the Iron Curtain. We’ll be reading “Music of Disruption” by USF professor Maria Cizmic from her book Performing Pain: Music and Trauma in Eastern Europe (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011). We’ll also be reading the chapter by Peter Wicke in Rockin’ The Boat.

For Thursday, we’ll be talking about what has been happening in Russia since the 1990s. We’ll be reading an article on the Russian national anthem by NCF alum J. Martin Daughtry (he wrote his thesis on Joseph Brodsky). I have also assigned an Associated Press article on Pussy Riot. (Click here for a PDF.)

I’ll update this post later today or tomorrow with some musical examples. Here is the listening for Monday. And here is the listening for Thursday.

Materials for Week 7

For Monday, we will be reading Chapter 2 from Drott’s Music and The Elusive Revolution (link for printer-friendly PDF, link for e-reader-friendly PDF). Since it focuses on the responses to the protests in French Chanson, there is an incredibly large number of songs to choose from. As you read, don’t be afraid to send me an email requesting that certain songs be distributed and discussed in class.

For Thursday, we will be discussing the so-called “Arab Spring” with two articles. Here is a link to Kendra Salois’ essay on rap’s role in Jihad on The New Inquiry’s website. For those of you who must read it as a PDF, try this (hint: the website is better). Here is Aaron Bady’s essay (alternative link here) on the role of Western spectators in the “Arab Spring.”

Update: Here is a dropbox link to the music that will be covered in class on Monday. Here is a dropbox link to the music for Thursday.

Update 2: GoogleDrive is being flakey so those procrastinating for Monday are in trouble. Thus: here is the Printer-friendly PDF, and here’s the e-reader friendly PDF

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 4

This is the final week of our introductory unit and the first week of unit 2: Music and Revolutions. For Monday, we will focus on warfare and conflict by reading two chapters from Steve Goodman’s Sonic Warfare and Bill Rolston’s essay about the Irish conflict in rock music. As you read these, I want you to focus on how their perspective on music’s efficacy differs from what we have read so far. Remember, every author we have covered in this unit has fundamental disagreements about how music acts in the context of resistance and social protest.

Thursday marks the beginning of our second unit on Music and Revolutions. We begin that unit with Part IV from Annabelle Sreberny- Mohammadi and Ali Mohammadi’s Small Media, Big Revolution on the Iranian Revolution. While this is the beginning of our Revolutions unit, this reading also acts as a theoretical text for how different media act in political revolutions.

UPDATE: Here is a link to the music.

Readings for Week 3

This week is mostly theory. For Monday, we are reading two chapters from Raymond Williams’ Marxism and Literature, which can be found here. We’ll end our theory week with a chapter from Michael Warner’s Publics and Counterpublics (available here). Both are more involved readings, and I very much look forward to your thoughts. I’ll have more to say about both authors during the weekend.

Happy PCP / Inauguration weekend!!