Course Details

MUSC 338: Sonic Spectacles in Minnesota and Beyond: Music as Heritage

In the last fifty years, governments and transnational entities such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have increasingly called to safeguard cultural practices and historic buildings around the world. Through trial and error, social scientists and policymakers have realized that such cultural heritage preservation programs come with unforeseen consequences, especially regarding musical performance and the communities that practice such traditions. This course is divided into two sections. First, we will concentrate on case studies from around the world, considering the advantages, detriments, and best practices for recognizing and celebrating music as heritage. We will debate questions such as: What is heritage? How can something ephemeral such as music be ‘conserved’ for generations to come? What role does the West play in shaping musical practices around the world, and for who do we want to ‘save’ the music? Who makes decisions of what music should or should not be safeguarded, and what are the implications for local practitioners? Second, we will explore music festivals and other music heritage projects specifically in Minnesota. Learning from the mistakes of the past, the course will culminate with a collaborative class project that will contribute to a sensitive yet productive endeavor to document oral histories of musicians, or plan a festival/performance on campus that highlights musical life in and around Northfield.
6 credits; LA, WR2, IDS; Not offered 2023-2024