World Music & Cultures
This course examines how we as consumers in the "Western" world engage with musical difference largely through the products of the global entertainment industry. We examine music cultures in contact in a variety of ways -- particularly as traditions in transformation. Students gain an understanding of traditional music as live, meaningful person-to-person music making by examining the music in its original site of production, and then considering its transformation once it is removed and recontextualized in a variety of ways.
The purpose of the course is to enable students to become informed and critical consumers of "World Music" by telling a series of stories about particular recordings made with, or using the music of, peoples culturally and geographically distant from the US. Students come to understand that not all music downloads containing music from unfamiliar places are the same, and that particular recordings may be embedded in intriguing and controversial narratives of production and consumption. At the very least, students should emerge from the class with a clear understanding that the production, distribution, and consumption of world music is rarely a neutral process.