Music in Global America

COURSE INTRODUCTION

COURSE OBJECTIVES AND ORGANIZATION

Brooklyn College course description of "Global Music in America":

The transnational roots of America's vernacular music traditions. The diaspora of folk and popular styles from Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Asia, and the transformation and hybridization of those music styles in diverse U.S. ethnic and cultural communities. Loops of ongoing transnational interaction between contemporary U.S.music styles and urban musics around the world

During this semester we will: 

1) Trace the diaspora of folk and popular music traditions to the U.S. from various parts of the world.

2) Analyze the survival, transformation, and hybridization of those musical practices and their impact on American popular music.

3) Explore how and why American music is globalized;  the role of the Internet and mass media in this process; and the ways in which local cultures around the world adapt American music to their own society and traditions.

COURSE ORGANIZATION

The course is divided into nine sections. The course will include a subset of these, beginning with:

AFRICAN MUSICAL TRADITIONS AND AFRICAN-AMERICAN MUSIC
A review of African musical traditions, their preservation, transformation, and hybridization in the United States through 1970.

IRISH AND IRISH-AMERICAN MUSIC
Traditional music and folk music of Ireland, the music of Irish Americans, and globalization of Irish and Irish-American music. 

MUSIC OF THE ARAB WORLD AND ARAB AMERICANS
Traditional music of Arab countries and the music of Arab emigrants to the U.S.; the means by which Arabic music traditions have been preserved and extended by Arab Americans; and hybrid forms that mix Arabic and American music. 

GLOBAL RAP AND HIP HOP
The global spread of American hip hop culture in Europe, Asia, and/or Africa, and the ways in which hip hop culture is adapted to local contexts.

OPEN TOPICS FOR STUDENT GROUP PRESENTATIONS

Four of the following sections will be chosen by the class for group presentations.  Each group will organize and research the group topic, prepare a draft outline, deliver a presentation to the class, and provide e-documentation of the presentation by semester's end.  

Each topic will have multiple class sessions beginning with an overview of the topic by the professor, and based on the readings for that topic. The remaining sessions will be devoted to the group presentation, which will bring the topic up to date. 
 
CUBAN MUSIC IN AMERICA
Interaction of Cuban and American music in the twentieth century. Salsa, Afro-Cuban jazz, Spanish rap, reggaet├│n.

SOUTH KOREAN POPULAR MUSIC
Influence of American music in South Korea. The development of K-Pop after 1992, its characteristics, its connections to U.S. music and musicians, and its global spread. Rap and hip hop in South Korea. 

KLEZMER
The rediscovery and revival of klezmer in the United States, and recent hybrid forms.

MUSICA NORTENA & TEJANO MUSIC
The transnational music of Northern Mexico and Texas. The influence of mainstream American popular music on the music of Mexican Americans, and the growing popularity and presence of Mexican culture in the United States. 

CALYPSO, SOCA, AND CARNIVAL
The unique forms of carnival celebration in Trinidad and Tobago and their perpetuation in the West Indian communities in New York City. Soca and its derivatives. Contemporary steel pan music.

GROUP PRESENTATIONS

Each group is responsible for providing an outline of the presentation two weeks prior to the beginning of the group's topic in class discussion. I will review your draft outlines and return them with my comments, and I will meet with your group to offer guidance/suggestions, and monitor your progress. 

Criteria for group presentations

Group outline: The group's outline summarizes how the topic is organized, with each member's name and responsibilities. The outline should also include bibliography and videography with links. Is the outline complete with all group members equally represented? Does the group have a game plan of how to relate individual segments, and how to proceed during the presentation? Are bibliographies/videographies provided?

Group presentation: Is the presentation relevant to globalization and/or hybridization of the musical cultures under consideration? Does the group as a whole have an overarching thesis and a focused point of view? Is the presentation well organized? Is there evidence of depth of research (not just Wikipedia and other internet links), and of the ability to synthesize and summarize information from various sources? Are appropriate examples included? Is the presentation well timed so that each presenter has an equal amount of time? Does the presentation flow smoothly and are individual presentations part of a unified outlook? 

Individual presenters: Was the presenter's segment well organized? Did the presenter show a clear understanding of the material? Were video examples well chosen, relevant, and timed effectively? Were translations, or the gist of lyrics, provided when necessary? Did the presenter speak so that everyone in the room could hear and have enough time to digest the information?

MUSICAL EVENT REPORT

Find a live musical event that you can attend and write about. The music must be relevant to the course topic and your choice must be approved. The report must be submitted within a week of the event.  I've included "Resources" for each topic in the course to help you start searching for possibilities. There will also be a discussion board added to Blackboard where students can post events that they've discovered and give others a chance to communicate and plan trips together. 

Your report should be three or four typed pages, giving basic information about the event,  describing the music,  and a paragraph summing up your experience.  Please provide a hard copy report for this assignment.

You can also attend a second event with the same requirements and in the same form for extra credit.

READING AND CLASS DISCUSSION — WHAT IS CULTURAL GLOBALIZATION?

Reading: Lane Crothers, "Cultural Globalization," in Globalization and American Popular Culture, 4th edition (2018) Rowman and Littlefield, Lanham, MD. (click here for PDF) 

PROS AND CONS OF CULTURAL GLOBALIZATION

Pros of Cultural GlobalizationCons of cultural globalization[Via Netivist]

DISCLAIMER

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Splash page video of Little Richard performing "Lucille" in 1957 via YouTube, fair use.
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

This open educational resource was created as part of the CUNY and SUNY 2017-19  Open Educational Resources Initiatives. Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NY State Legislature awarded CUNY and SUNY $16 million to implement open educational resources to develop, enhance and institutionalize new and ongoing open educational resources across both universities.

Special thanks to the CUNY Office of Academic Affairs, the CUNY Office of Library Services, Brooklyn College Administration and Professor Miriam Deutch, Coordinator, Brooklyn College Open Educational Resources Initiative. Site design and formatting by Colin McDonald, OER Developer.

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