L&S Curricular Connections

L&S Discovery Courses

LS 180C

The Politics of Music

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Music is always and everywhere a medium of expression and a form of communication. Politics, in both theory and practice, would be impossible without expression and communication. The question is, what happens when music projects its expressive and communicative potential into the political arena? This course will explore possible answers to this question from a variety of different perspectives and with a staggering array of different musical styles from around the world. The focus will be on the contemporary period, and we will explore, among other things: (1) the use of music as a form of political expression (national anthems, protest songs, military bands, jazz, etc.); (2) the politics involved with classifying and packaging various forms of music (global hip-hop, fusion, etc.); (3) the interaction between formal political actors and musicians (censorship, political campaigns, copyright, downloading, etc.); and (4) the comparative power of music as a political medium in relation to other artistic media such as film, painting, literature, etc. (as in, why do we sing a national anthem at sports events but not recite a national poem?). You do not need to know a thing about music to succeed in this class. All you need is an outrageous sense of enthusiasm and a creative desire to learn. You might also want to get a good seat belt: it will certainly be a wild ride.

Darren Zook faculty profile
Darren Zook (International and Area Studies and Political Science)

Terms Offered

  • Fall 2006