Throughout history, music has always been intertwined with politics. Musical lyrics, beats, and rhythm have transcended auditory sensationalism and transformed into a force for social mobility, revolution, nationalism, and political change. In the United States, music as a form of protest resonated on the cotton fields of the South and continues today with rap, whose lyrics touch on issues of police brutality and incarceration. In regions like Mexico and the south border of United States, corridos are used to protest the corruption and struggle surrounding immigration policies. In Asia, from India to Cambodia, music on free speech, environmentalism, and democracy has permeated popular culture. Ideas of democracy, justice, and sovereignty are prevalent in music from Europe and Africa, while the ideas of modernity, feminism, and women’s suffrage can heard in hip hop music from North Africa and the Middle East. Music has and continues to transform according to both the political and cultural atmosphere around it. Therefore, understanding the political themes prevalent in the world and the political climate within a region allows us to see how music is used as an important tool for citizens to both express the distress of their social situations and to give them a voice where they otherwise would have none.
The goal of this course is to expose students to the interconnectedness of politics and music and understand the impact one has on the other. Students will first explore prevalent and omnipresent themes in the political realm such as women’s rights, nationalism, free speech, and justice. To get a sense for a region’s political climate and culture, the course will then move on to explore how these themes affect different geographical areas both similarly and differently and how music reflects these themes. By the end of the course, students will be able to evaluate music as a powerful tool that responds to social conditions and a platform that contributes to political discourse.
We will meet weekly for two hours. The course will include various methods of teaching, including in-class activities, class discussions, and presentations by facilitators and other students. Class will begin by introducing the political topic for the week, followed by impact of the topic on certain geographical areas. Understanding that some students might not be familiar with certain regions, the facilitators will see to it that there is a 5-minute introduction to the region (location, size, population, history and politics, racial demographics, geography) before delving into discussion. The lecture will then move to discuss how music has been used as an outlet and medium to speak to critical issues and to mobilize for political change.
A more detailed description of the grading policy and course work can be found in our syllabus.
Students are required to meet once a week for two hours and expected to engage in discussion. ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY. You are permitted two unexcused absence without it affecting your ability to pass the class. More than 2 unexcused absences will result in an automatic No Pass. Exceptions will be made for documented medical or family emergencies.
|Section 003: Music and Politics||Nickii, Aldo, Malaya, Calixtho||40||209 Dwinelle||[Tu] 6:00PM-8:00PM||TBD||