A note on media logistics: As opposed to last semester, I have decided to use the library's reserve system to hold recordings and video of much of the course content. I'm hoping that students will feel motivated to post links to songs on lala or youtube when sharing ideas in the online discussion forums. Since there is no repertoire or listening requirement for examination purposes, I didn't feel compelled to create a digital playlist. I plan to try that the next time I teach a lower level course.
I originally designed this course as my "dream" seminar – you know, the course one imagines leading during the final stretches of the dissertation process. Since my defense, the idea of teaching a seminar on theoretical issues close to my research has made me much more excited to teach than I ever thought possible. As opposed to my fall class, "Music and the Global Metropolis," I intentionally left most things pertaining to Brazil off the syllabus in an attempt to diversify class content. I'm assuming that it will come up now that 2 students expressed an interest in Latin America. We shall see. I am also allowing students to be creative with their term projects. There are many students in this class with experience with various forms of media, and I assume that some of them will opt to do a creative project as opposed to a traditional paper.
Mondays and Wednesdays
102 Bixler Art and Music Center
Mondays and Wednesdays, 9AM-10:45AM.
You may also consult me via digital office hours. See the moodle for a portal to my Google Talk account.
Vernalis, Carol. Experiencing Music Video: Aesthetics and Cultural Context. New York: Columbia University Press, 2004.
Media and Cultural Studies: Keyworks. Revised edition. Edited by Meenakshi Gigi Durham and Douglas M. Kellner. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2006.
Readings on Reserve
This course is designed as an introductory seminar about the critical issues of representing marginalized persons in music and new forms of media. Throughout history, artists have used music and visual media in a mission of representation, often depicting marginalized groups as part of larger goal of engaging the public for entertainment. With the advent of the motion picture, music and sound soon became primary sites for representing differences in race, gender, sexuality, nationality, and social class. Indeed, the coupling of music with multiple forms of media and communication has been a primary locus of social and cultural change and for marginalized groups to contest differences in power. As the internet became a major cultural force during the 1990s, music was a primary locus of cultural contestations about this new form of media, especially with the advent of remix, mash, and musical memes of existing recordings. With the introduction of smart mobile phones and music production games, music and new media have a close relationship in how dominant and marginalized groups engage with the cultures around them.
Throughout the course, the professor will bring audio, visual and participatory examples that relate to the reading. Students are encouraged to do the same so long as they email the professor in advance.
Students will become familiar with the critical issues at stake to these musical communities through a variety of course readings and the development of term paper. Class objectives include:
• increasing student media literacy as it applies to music.
• developing critical reading and listening skills.
• appreciating the debates and conflicts surrounding new music and media technology.
• understanding the politics of representation in music.
• the development and revision of an original term-paper, or an alternative scholarly project that meets the academic requirements of the course.
Students are expected to do all reading for the course before class and have questions and comments prepared before class convenes. The easiest way to succeed in MU 398 is to take note of questions that arise as you engage with course materials and bring those concerns to class meetings.
If students wish to develop an alternative scholarly project to the final paper, they must see the professor well in-advance and meet the other requirements of the course (proposal, bibliography, etc.).
All students with documented disabilities will be given special dispensations if they so require them. Please notify me during the first sessions of class.
I am happy to answer questions and chat with you about your thoughts and ideas about this class. Please feel free to visit me during Office Hours. I am also available by appointment.
Option 1: Paper
Throughout the semester, you will be working towards the completion of an original term paper of approximately 12-15 pages. For your term paper, you must critically engage with the material covered in this class to receive a passing grade. To receive a good grade, you must also conduct independent research to engage with your research or creative question intellectually with an argument or thesis. Generally, a good intellectual engagement will have a bibliography of at least 5 secondary sources and at least 1 primary source of music/media. To do this well, use the resources available to you at the Miller and Bixler libraries. Excellent papers will be show a clear organization, be free of careless errors, demonstrate a synthesis of the critical issues of the class, and show a unique and/or creative approach to the question of media, music and representation.
Option 2: Project
If you wish to do a creative project in lieu of a term paper, consult with the professor to ensure that your ideas will fit with the goals of the class. In place of research paper, you will produce a multimedia presentation or project. For a passing grade, you must critically engage with the material covered in the class. As with the term paper, you must conduct independent research to defend your creative choices for a good grade. Your realization or creative engagement with the course materials will serve as your thesis or argument that you will defend in your accompanying paper. The written explanation of your creative choices should be bolstered by 5 secondary and primary sources. Explanation papers will be around 8-10 pages in length. Excellent projects will creatively synthesize the issues of this seminar and will make an attempt to engage your audience. Excellent explanations papers will be free of careless errors and demonstrate a clear organization as they argue for their particular creative vision.
Term paper/project rough drafts will be due on Friday, April 30 by 5PM in the Music Department office. Final drafts will be due on Monday, May 17, via email by 5PM. Please note that all of your smaller assignments will be working towards the completion of this paper/project. It is best for you to approach all written work for this class with that goal in mind.
Grading and Assignments:
There will be no formal exams in this course.
All students are required to participate in online discussion forums in the class moodle which will count for 10% of your final grade.
There will be three written assignments designed to help you develop your term paper: one paper topic proposal (2-3 pages in length) worth 15%; one annotated bibliography related to your term paper (2-3 pages) worth 10%; a rough draft of your term paper (12-15 pages) worth 20% of your final grade. I will discuss the details of writing assignments throughout the term. Keep copies of all papers in the case my copy goes astray. Late papers result in a grade deduction of one-third a grade every day they are late.
There will be one final term paper (12-15 pages), worth 30% of your final grade. You must show evidence of incorporating the professor’s comments into the final paper to get a good grade.
Due to privacy rules, I only discuss grades in person. Please make an appointment or visit my office hours if you wish to inquire about your performance.
30% Term Paper (final draft)
20% Term Paper (rough draft)
15% Paper Topic Proposal
10% Annotated Bibliography
10% Participation in Online Discussion Forum
15% Attendance and Participation in Classroom discussion
Schedule of Readings
Unit 1: Theoretical and Conceptual Foundations
Week 1: Introductions: Media theory, cultural theory, and what it all has to do with music.
A/V: Richard Wagner, Das Rheingold, Prelude and Scene 1
Week 2: Foundational Theories 1: Frankfurt School of Critical Theory
Benjamin, Walter. 1968. “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” In Media and Cultural Studies: Keyworks. Pp. 18-40.
Horkheimer, Max and Theodor Adorno. “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception.” In Media and Cultural Studies: Keyworks. Pp. 41-72.
Adorno, Theodor. “Analytical Study of the NBC Music Appreciation Hour.” Musical Quarterly 78 (1994):325-77.
A/V: Orson Welles, The Invasion from Mars (1938)
Week 3: Foundational Theories 2: Birmingham School and Cultural Studies
Williams, Raymond. “Base and Superstructure in Marxist Cultural Theory.” In Media and Cultural Studies: Keyworks. Pp. 130-143.
Hall, Stuart. “Encoding/Decoding.” In Media and Cultural Studies: Keyworks. Pp. 163-173.
McLuhan, Marshall. “The Medium is the Message.” In Media and Cultural Studies: Keyworks. Pp. 107-116.
A/V: Early television broadcasts.
Special guest lecturer: Margaret Ericson, Music Librarian.
Week 4: Music and Representation
Leppert, Richard. “Music, Domesticity, and Cultural Imperialism.” In The Sight of Sound: Music, Representation, and the History of the Body. Berkeley: University of California, 1990. Pp. 91-117.
Taylor, Timothy D. “Introduction.” In Beyond Exoticism: Western Music and the World. Durham: Duke University Press, 2007. Pp. 1-13.
McClary, Susan. “The Musical Languages of Carmen.” In Georges Bizet: Carmen. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992. Pp. 44-61.
A/V: Georges Bizet, Carmen; Oscar Hammerstein’s Carmen Jones; Beethoven, Symphony No. 9
Week 5: Global Media
Appardurai, Arjun. “Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy.” In Media and Cultural Studies: Keyworks. Pp. 584-603.
García Canclini, Néstor. “Latin America and Europe as Suburbs of Hollywood,” and “From the Public to the Private: The ‘Americanization’ of Spectators” in Consumers and Citizens: Globalization and Multicultural Conflicts. Translated by George Yúdice. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001. Pp. 97-122.
Shohat, Ella and Robert Stam. “Stereotype, Realism, and the Struggle Over Representation.” In Unthinking Eurocentrism: Multiculturalism and the Media. New York: Routledge, 1994. Pp. 178-219.
***Writing Assignment 1: 2-3 page paper proposal (15%) due in the Music Office by Friday, 5PM.
A/V: Zap Mama; Global Rhythm; Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
Unit 2: Music and Media Theory
Week 6: Utopias and Dystopias of Media Convergence
Jenkins, Henry. “Quentin Tarantino’s Star Wars?: Digital Cinema, Media Convergence, and Participatory Culture.” In Media and Cultural Studies: Keyworks. Pp. 549-576.
Flew, Terry. “New Media, New Economy? Technology, Political Economy and the Network Society.” In New Media: An Introduction. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. Pp. 40-60.
Gitlin, Todd. “Supersaturation.” In Media Unlimited: How the Torrent of Images and Sounds Overwhelms Our Lives. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2001. Pp. 12-70.
Goodman, David. “Distracted Listening: On Not Making Sound Choices in the 1930s.” In Sound in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. Edited by David Suisman and Susan Strasser. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010. Pp. 15-46.
Optional: Jenkins, Henry. “Introduction: ‘Worship at the Altar of Convergence’” A New Paradigm for Understanding Media Change.” In Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: NYU Press, 2008. Pp. 1-24. ER
Week 7: Film and TV Music Studies I
Kassabian, Anahid. “Listening for Identifications: Prologue” and “A Woman Scored” in Hearing Film: Tracking Identifications in Hollywood Film Music. New York: Routledge, 2000. Pp. 1-14; 61-89.
Cook, Nicholas. “Introduction.” In Analysing Musical Multimedia. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. Pp. 3-23.
Vernallis, Carol. Experiencing Music Video: Aesthetics and Cultural Context. New York: Columbia University Press, 2004. Pp. 3-26; 156-208.
Optional: Frith, Simon. “Look! Hear! The Uneasy Relationship of Music and Television,” Popular Music 21 (2002): 277-290.
A/V: Thelma & Louise; Ken Burns’ Jazz.
March 22–24: No class! Spring Break!
Week 8: Film and TV Music Studies II
Booth, Greg. “That Bollywood Sound.” In Global Soundtracks: Worlds of Film Music. Edited by Mark Slobin. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2008. Pp. 85-113.
Rodman, Ron. “The Truth Is Out There: Music in Modern/Postmodern Television.” In Tuning In: American Narrative Television Music. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010. Pp. 257-289.
Stilwell, Robynn J. “I Just Put a Drone Under Him...: Collage and Subversion in the Score of Die Hard,” Music & Letters 78 (1997): 551-580.
Vernallis, Carol. Experiencing Music Video. Pp. 209-249.
A/V: Die Hard; Lagaan; Glee, Season 1; Prince, “Get Off”; Madonna, “Cherish.”
Week 9 Music and the Animated Imagination
Dorfman, Ariel and Armand Mattelart. “Introduction: Instructions on How to Become a General in the Disneyland Club.” In Media and Cultural Studies: Keyworks. Pp. 122-129.
Goldmark, Daniel. “‘You Really Do Beat the Shit Out of That Cat’: Scott Bradley’s (Violent) Music for MGM.” In Tunes for ‘Toons: Music and the Hollywood Cartoon. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005. Pp. 44-76.
Goldmark, Daniel. “Jungle Jive: Animation, Jazz Music and Swing Culture.” In Tunes for ‘Toons: Music and the Hollywood Cartoon. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005. Pp. 77-106.
Galm, Eric. “Baianas, Malandros, and Samba: Listening to Brazil Through Donald Duck’s Ears.” In Global Soundtracks: Worlds of Film Music. Edited by Mark Slobin. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2008. Pp. 258-280.
A/V: Saludos Amigos; The Three Caballeros; What’s Opera, Doc?; I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead, You Rascal You
Week 10 Commerce, Advertising
Baudrillard, Jean. “Towards a Theory of Consumption.” In The Consumer Society: Myths and Structures. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1998. Pp. 69-86.
McCarthy, Anna. “Introduction: Public Lives of TV.” In Ambient Television: Visual Culture and Public Sphere. Durham: Duke University Press, 2001. Pp. 1-26.
Taylor, Timothy D. “World Music in Television Ads.” American Music 18.2. (Summer 2000): 162-192.
Optional: Sterne, Jonathan. “Sounds Like the Mall of America: Programmed Music and the Architechtonics of Commercial Space.” Ethnomusicology 41.1 (Winter 1997): 22-50.
A/V: Chrysler, Delta, Royal Caribbean, and Sprint TV Ads.
Unit 3: The Internet and Forms of Interaction
Week 11 Avatars and Afro-Futuristic Music
Kahn, Richard and Douglas M. Kellner. “Oppositional Politics and the Internet: A Critical / Reconstructive Approach.” In Media and Cultural Studies: Keyworks. Pp. 703-725.
Case, Sue-Ellen. Excerpt from “The Avatar.” In Performing Science and the Virtual. New York: Routledge, 2007. Pp. 185-196.
Eshun, Kodwo. “Transmaterializing the Breakbeat” and “Sampladelia of the Breakbeat,” More Brilliant than the Sun: Adventures in Sonic Fiction. London: Quartet Books, 1999. Pp. 13-61.
Stone, Alluquéré Rosanne. “Sex, Death and Machinery, or How I Fell in Love with My Prosthesis.” In The War of Desire and Technology at the Close of the Mechanical Age. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1995. pp. 1-32.
A/V: Sun-Ra and His Arkestra, Space is the Place (1974); Thrill The World on YouTube
Week 12 Music Video Games and Music Production Populism
Demers, Joanna. “Dancing Machines: ‘Dance Dance Revolution,’ Cybernetic Dance, and Musical Taste.” Popular Music 25 (2006): 401-414.
Miller, Kiri. “Jacking the Dial: Race, Radio and Place in Grand Theft Auto.” Ethnomusicology 51.3 (2007): 402-438.
Miller, Kiri. “Schizophonic Performance: Guitar Hero, Rock Band, and Virtual Virtuosity.” Journal of the Society for American Music 3.4 (November 2009): 395-429.
Case. Sue-Ellen. Excerpt from “The Avatar.” In Performing Science and the Virtual. New York: Routledge, 2007. Pp. 198-206.
Writing Assignment 3: Paper Rough Draft (20%) Due in the Music Office by Friday, 5PM.
Week 13 Mobile Music and Web 2.0 Musical Communities
Bahng Boyer, Bill. “The Curious Circumstance of the iPod Shuffle, or Confessions of a Recovering Liberal Humanist”. Mediascapes (Spring 2007).
Gopinath, Sumanth. “Ringtones and the Auditory Logic of Globalization”. First Monday 10.15 (5 December 2005).
Lysloff, René T. A. “Musical Life in a Soft City: An Internet Ethnography.” In Music and Technoculture. Edited by René T.A. Lysloff and Leslie C. Gay Jr.. Middletown, CT: Weseleyan University Press, 2003. Pp. 23-63.
Weheliye, Alexander. “Feenin’: Posthuman Voices in Contemporary Black Popular Music,” Social Text 20.2 (Summer 2002): 21-47.
*** Final Papers (30%) Due Last Day of Exam Week (Monday, May 17) via email by 5PM, EST.