Music in Global America | Syllabus | Brooklyn College | Spring 2020

“This course will focus on the transnational nature of American vernacular music. We will explore the diaspora of folk and popular music traditions of the U.S. to (and from) Africa, Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia, and the Arabic World. We will analyze genres of music in terms of aesthetic characteristics, as well as in historical and social contexts, including complex social processes such as colonization, immigration, and globalization. Class discussions will center on music-making in community life and identity formation, and the survival, transformation, and hybridization of musical practices in diverse U.S. communities. Finally, this course will discuss the spread of those U.S. styles with local music cultures around the world, driven by mass media and the internet.

Music in Global America will draw on a growing body of contemporary ethnomusicology and anthropological literature. Through readings, listening, writing, and discussion, this class invites students to think critically about the politics of performance, pose questions, and problematize global musical and cultural flows. This global perspective reorients our thinking about the nature of “American” music by focusing on the complex flow of diverse musical practices into and out of the U.S. Finally, I invite students to engage in the material as it might reflect on their own musical experiences and the transnational nature of the US through the lens of music.”

Instructor: Lynne Stillings

Course: Music in Global America (Music 3101)

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