Using select examples from throughout Africa, this course highlights genres, artists, and works that engage with social and ideological change. Students practice critical listening and performance analysis, while also considering the social contexts that render these performances meaningful and provocative. Topics include: challenges to mass mediated stereotypes of African populations, the social and economic impact of cultural tourism, music as a form of social critique, changing attitudes toward women and the LGBTQIA community, music and global aid organizations, issues of migration and displacement, and the changing roles of traditional musical occupations. Popular genres-among them Afrobeat, kwaito, soukous, raï, mbalax, Chimurenga music, and a variety of rap and hip-hop styles-are discussed alongside numerous traditional and ceremonial genres, national/political anthems, and concert pieces. Active participation in class discussion is an important component of this course.
Format: seminar; this class places a strong emphasis on discussion
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
in-class preparation and participation, bi-weekly short writing assignments, a midterm paper and a final project
some familiarity with music terminology encouraged
sophomores, juniors, or seniors who are current or prospective Music majors, as well as current and prospective Africana Studies and Latina/o Studies concentrators
Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
Students receive regular feedback on multiple short assignments throughout the semester. Particular focus is dedicated to crafting and substantiating written arguments.
Throughout the course, students engage with case studies concerning specific socio-political contexts within Africa, with an emphasis placed on music's role as a social agent. Topics include representational politics, music as a tool for the powerful as well as the politically disempowered, and music's role in conflict resolution.
GBST African Studies Electives
MUS World Music/Ethnomusicology