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Skidmore College
First-Year Experience

Scribner Seminar Program
Course Description

Music, Race, and Class

Instructor(s): Lei Bryant, Music

What is the power of music? How can music empower oppressed peoples in their fight for justice? In this seminar students will investigate three contemporary case studies from around the world where groups have employed music to confront racism and classism in pursuit of social justice. We will begin by exploring tools for how to talk about race, class, racism, and classism with a particular emphasis on developing a deeper understanding of our own social identities. We will then move on to three different case studies on music in Apartheid South Africa, Buraku Taiko drummers in Japan, and the Kamehameha Schools Song Contest in Hawai'i. Each case study will include an introduction to relevant historical, social, political, and musical context for the particular unit. We will then screen one full-length documentary film on music and social justice and read one novel or collection of short stories for a first-hand account of the historical period of study. Students will complete an original community project with classmates to share their seminar experience with other students on campus.


Course Offered: