Aug 11, 2020  
Catalogue 2020-2021 
    
Catalogue 2020-2021
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MUSI 252 - Book Club

Semester Offered: Fall
1 unit(s)


In-depth exploration of a multi-disciplinary musical topic through student-selected readings and student-led group discussions. The course begins with a pre-selected book, with subsequent readings researched and selected by students. Each week students take turns leading the class through directed discussions of the readings, with summary presentations and prepared discussion points. After the initial pre-selected readings, the reading itinerary expands based on student interest. Each student (in consultation with the professor) selects readings for the entire class to read (books chapters or journal articles either referenced in our primary readings or researched independently), so that by the second half of the semester, the curriculum is entirely student-driven. The course culminates with presentations on subtopics of each student’s choosing. This course is open to students with backgrounds in music or other fields related to the topic, with the hopes of generating richly cross-pollinated discussions from multiple points of view.

Topic for 2020/21a: Music as Pathology, Music as Therapy. Music has always played a central role in human civilization, and because of its incredible power to influence human thought, emotion, and action, people (as far back as Plato and Pythagoras) have worried over the harmful effects of music. From 18th-century physicians who diagnosed (and institutionalized) patients with musical hysteria to the ”Satanic panic” of 1980s heavy metal, music has long been viewed as a potential medical and psychological danger. Thus, unsurprisingly, throughout the ages music has been weaponized in service of brainwashing, political manipulation, torture, and warfare. On the other side of the spectrum, people have harnessed the immense power of music as a tool for healing, as therapy for a number of physical, developmental, and psychological conditions. In this class we explore the long and complex histories of music as pathology and music as therapy, tracing the evolution of both of these threads from their historical origins through the present day. 

Each week students take turns leading the class through directed discussions of the readings, with summary presentations and prepared discussion points. We begin with a few pre-selected readings (listed below), and then expand our reading itinerary based on student interest. Each student (in consultation with the professor) selects readings for the entire class to read–books chapters or journal articles either referenced in our primary readings or researched independently–so that by the second half of the semester, the curriculum is entirely student-driven. The course culminates with presentations on sub-topics of each student’s choosing.

This course is open to students with backgrounds in music, science, or history, with the hopes of generating richly cross-pollinated discussions from multiple points of view. Táhirih Motazedian.

Prerequisite(s): One course in music, science, history, or permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

Course Format: INT



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