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Kamran Scot Aghaie, Chair CAL 528 | 204 W 21st St F9400 | Austin, TX 78712-1029 • 512-471-3881

Spring 2007


Unique Days Time Location Instructor
41925 TTh
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
MRH 2.634

Course Description

We are living today in a radically different world which has undergone significant changes. We are living in a world of enlarged and faster communication, an increased interconnectedness of markets, a globalized world marked by a increased flow of culture, goods, and ideas. This increased flow has resulted in what Roland Robertson characterized as a "particularization of the universal and the universalization of the particular". We see evidence of this phenomenon in the world around us and in our everyday lives. Some examples from music illustrate intersections between cultures across national boundaries as well as mixes from within. In February 2000, the 42nd annual Grammy award performers included Sting joined by Cheb Mami, and elderly Cuban jazz artists joined together from their recording project called The Buena Vista Social Club. Def Jam records, now part of the multi-national Seagram music company, announced the opening of their international rap division which is scouting foreign rap artists to record and sell to local audiences. Advances in computer and web technology using digitized sound have led to debates and legal conflicts between producers, musicians and consumers regarding copyright, royalties and accessibility. Ethnomusicologist John Blacking has noted that music is an essential human activity, and that music is both humanly organized sound and sound that affects human social organization. From this premise, how does music create, confirm and perform community at local, national and global levels in this era of mass media and globalization? How do people perform, listen to, and experience music in this changing world? How is music created, contested or oppressed as an expression of national identity? How do transnational corporations build capital from these genres of music? What do these phenomena say about human beings, social organization, and the expressive power of music? In this course, we will ask these questions and more by surveying a variety of musical styles and genres from different areas of the world. You will also have the opportunity to explore these questions in relation to music that you are interested in through your own guided team research projects. Through this course, we will gain a basis for understanding cultural production from a variety of ethnomusicological perspectives in today's dynamic global context.


Readings will be assigned from a class reader, available at the Copy Center; Davidson Library. There may also be additional or alternative assignments available on reserve at the Music Library.


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