MUS 316
Music in Asian American History Fall 2022
Division I Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed AMST 366
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

Is “Asian American music” all music made by Asian Americans, music by Asian Americans specifically drawing on Asian heritage, or music engaging with Asian American issues? This course embraces all three definitions and the full diversity of Asian American musical experience. We will study the historical soundscapes of immigrant communities (Chinese opera in North America; Southeast Asian war refugees) and how specific traumatic political events shaped musical life (Japanese American internment camps). We will encounter works by major classical composers (Chou Wen-Chung; Chen Yi; Tan Dun; Bright Sheng) and will investigate the careers and reception of prominent classical musicians (Midori; Seiji Ozawa; Yo-Yo Ma). Afro-Asian fusions, inspired by civil rights protest movements, manifested in jazz (Jon Jang; Fred Ho; Anthony Brown; Hiroshima; Vijay Iyer) and hip hop (MC Jin; Awkwafina; Desi rappers). Asian Americans have been active in popular music at home and abroad (Don Ho; Yoko Ono; Wang Leehom; Mitski). Finally, we will investigate communal forms of Asian American music making that have crossed racialized and gendered boundaries (taiko drumming; Indonesian gamelan; belly dance; Suzuki method). This seminar is designed to develop research skills, as we pursue original fieldwork, archival research, and oral history interviews.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 1895
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Active class participation; two short papers (5-6 pp.) and a research term paper (12-15 pp.).
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Students with curricular experience in Asian American history or music studies.
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
AMST 366 Division II MUS 316 Division I
WS Notes: Students will write three papers during the semester: two 5-6 page papers and a 12-15 page research paper, written in stages. Students will receive detailed comments on each paper and at each stage of the research paper process, allowing them to build upon those comments in subsequent writing assignments.
DPE Notes: Political and cultural forces of exclusion not only determined Asian American musical participation in American music history but have shaped Asian American styles of music. We will study the history of Asian American political struggles as they have intersected with music and how Asian Americans have at certain points sought allegiance through music with other marginalized groups. We will explore as well popular media representations of Asian American musicians revealing race-based assumptions.

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