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Viewing: MUSC 038 C1: Hidden Histories

Last approved: Wed, 10 Apr 2019 17:39:09 GMT

Last edit: Wed, 10 Apr 2019 17:38:02 GMT

First Name Last Name Userid Title Home School Org Short Name
Margaret Deeney mmsmith Grad & Ugrad Assistant School of Arts and Sciences Music/SAS
MUSIC
038
Summer 2019
Spring 2019
Hidden Histories
What would a history of classical music in the United States look like if told from the perspective of African Americans? In this course, we will be working together to answer this question. We will be going into the archive to search for African-descended Americans who listened to, performed, taught, and composed what we may broadly call “classical music,” from slavery to the current #blacklivesmatter movement. I do not intend the terms “classical music” or “race” to be limiting or essentializing; throughout the class we will be constantly returning to these ideas, and how they change over time and space. This module is organized as a seminar, where we will be exploring our topic through finding and examining primary sources, reading selected scholarly and creative texts, and listening to and analyzing recordings, objects, and films.
Other

Foundational Approach

Course not offered every year
Cross Cultural Analysis
 
RYAN, Maria
Other
Other
Summer offering that will satisfy minor requirements.
This module is organized as a seminar, where we will be exploring our topic through finding and examining primary sources, reading selected scholarly and creative texts, and listening to and analyzing recordings, objects, and films.

Methods of Assessment

1 2500 word paper with an accompanying presentation
0
This course has no prerequisites. A background in music is not required.

Cross Cultural Analysis

 
The course asks the question: what would a history of classical music in the United States look like if told from the perspective of African Americans? The course involves archival work and broad reading to find African-descended Americans who listened to, performed, taught, and composed what we may broadly call “classical music,” from slavery to the current #blacklivesmatter movement. The course interrogates the terms “classical music” and “race” and how these ideas change over time and space. The class takes a U.S. perspective overall, although we will also be attentive to questions of classical music and race elsewhere in the Americas, in Africa, and in Europe. We will be using race, gender, and class as analytics to look at various cultural products. Students will use digital archival resources such as Proquest Historical Newspapers to find primary sources, be taught reading and analytical strategies to evaluate and discuss academic texts and ti identify and analyze how social conditions have shaped people’s access and relationship to particular musical genres.
 
Hidden Histories is primarily focused on music, however, always in a broader cultural context. In terms of art, we will be looking at many visual primary sources to determine how art can be a vital source of musical clues. Later in the course we will think about the visual elements of black musical cultures. The relationship between “classical music” and religion is blurred. We have a class on Negro spirituals, exploring how the religious music of the enslaved ended up in concert halls after emancipation. When we discuss the 20th century we think about the influence of spirituals and gospels as both an attractive part of black symphonic music, but one that also had the potential to restrict what was “heard” as black music. In Class 8, “Story Telling: Past into Present,” we are reading literary sources to compare them to operatic story telling. We will be reading stories by W. E. B. Du Bois, Aisha Sabatini Sloan, and Toni Morrison thinking about music’s role in these works as signifier, metaphor, and memory. The entire course is anchored by the idea that listening and music-making is always a social behavior affected by upbringing and political structures. We will be reading Jennifer Lynn Stoever’s recent book The Sonic Color Line to help us think critically about race and listening. Finally, we keep in mind the contemporary moment and what is at stake in “classical music” being considered and gate-kept as a primarily white space.
 
This course focusses on what can broadly be called “classical music” or “Western Art music” as it has been performed by African-descended Americans. It relates these particular elements to other musical forms and genres, such as African musical traditions, popular music and song, Negro Spirituals, minstrelsy, and hip hop. It also relates classical music to literature, in the class we will be learning about narrative across different art forms and we will be reading literary texts. We will also be using a lot of visual sources, to think about visual artistic expression in relation to musical expression. The course examines all of these cultural elements in the context of the social conditions of slavery, reconstruction, segregation, and post-Civil rights movement.
 
From the very first class we will be open about reading practices, including a library tour, thorough focus in citational practice, and the basics of historical research. Students will be given and develop strategies for reading texts, both primary and scholarly, as well as having to put into practice analyzing and approaching sources as varied as films, recordings, sculpture, painting, theatrical sets, and advertisements. The final project of the course—a themed playlist and accompanying essay, an annotated bibliography, or a syllabus—are designed for students to take ownership of the creation and dissemination of musical knowledge, and to take historiography seriously. These projects will be developed over the semester, and require the students to do independent research using library and other resources. We will also analyze new texts in class, in addition to homework readings. Students are required to post reading responses on Canvas before each class, and encouraged to engage thoughtfully and respectfully to each other’s ideas to create a collaborative classroom.

Cultural Diversity in the US

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Quantitative Data Analysis

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Formal Reasoning

 
 
 
 
 
 

Administrative Fields

 
 
College Cross-Cultural Analysis Committee
 
 
Key: 842