PSCI 178
Music and Politics
Last Offered Fall 2016
Division I
Cross-listed MUS 178 / PSCI 178
This course is not offered in the current catalog or this is a previous listing for a current course.

Class Details

This course examines how musical sound and musical discourse change, enable, and inhibit citizen formation and the functioning of a well-ordered society. We will take a very wide definition of “politics,” as music can have political meaning and effects far beyond national anthems and propaganda. For instance, musical sound is often read as a metaphor for political structures: eighteenth-century commenters pointed out that string quartets mirrored reasoned, democratic discourse, and twentieth-century critics made similar arguments about free jazz. Beliefs about music can serve as a barometer for a society’s non-musical anxieties: Viennese fin-de-si├Ęcle critics worried that the sounds and stories of Strauss’s operas were causing moral decline, an argument that should be familiar to anyone who reads criticism of American popular music. Finally, a pervasive strand of Romantic thought holds that (good) music, by its nature, is apolitical-what might it mean to deny social relevance to an entire field of human expression? We will read classic philosophical texts on art and politics by Schiller, Kant, Schopenhauer, Marx, Adorno, and others, and pair them with contextual studies of works of Western classical music from the last two hundred years and popular music of the last hundred years.
The Class: Format: tutorial
Limit: 10
Expected: 8
Class#: 1756
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Students will be expected to write a 5-7 page paper every other week, and submit written commends on their tutorial partner's paper in off weeks.
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: first-year students
Distributions: Division I
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
MUS 178 Division I PSCI 178 Division I

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