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Music and Movement in the Atlantic World: Social and Popular Music across Two Centuries

This course examines social and popular music in Latin America from slavery in the nineteenth century to neoliberal crisis on the eve of the twenty-first century. Exploring the sounds and movements of the region, we will address broad themes including: immigration, race, class, nationalism, transnational exchange, political violence and economic collapse. The first part of this course focuses on how African Diasporic and European movements and sounds travelled incompletely to and around the Americas and produced new forms of sociability, ideas about ethnic and racial identities, and notions of national culture. The second part explores how late twentieth century transnational performances destabilized national boundaries and served as counter-cultural expressive modes. 

Readings for this course include exemplary secondary sources that analyze music, dance, and other embodied expressions. Alongside these texts, we will consider primary sources ranging from scores and song lyrics to concert reviews and audiovisual recordings. Over the course of the semester, we will develop methodologies from History, Musicology, Media and Film Studies and Performance Studies, among other disciplines, to understand the relationship between cultural practices, individual identities, and local, national, and transnational contexts. In anticipation of the final research papers, we will build vocabularies and practice techniques to identify, describe, and discuss embodied practices.


Required Texts

Castro, Ruy. Bossa Nova: The Story of the Brazilian Music that Seduced the World. Lysa Salsbury, trans. Chicago: A Capella Books, 2000. 

Chasteen, John Charles. National Rhythms, African Roots: The Deep History of Latin American Popilar Dance. Alburquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2004.

Guillermoprieto, Alma. Samba. New York: Vintage, 1990.

Pacini Hernandez, Deborah, Héctor Fernández L’Hoeste and Eric Zolov eds. Rockin’ Las Américas: The Global Politics of Rock in Latin/o America. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2004. (RLA)

Waxer, Lise. A. The City of Musical Memory: Salsa, Record Grooves, and Popular Culture in Cali, Colombia. Middletown: Wesleyn University Press, 2002.

Zolov, Eric. Refried Elvis: The Rise of the Mexican Counterculture. Berkley: University of California Press, 1999.


Course Expectations

Readings, Participation and Facilitation  (20%)
You must attend all meetings and participate actively in the discussion of all of the texts. Readings for this course vary in length; this means that you will need to plan your work accordingly. You are expected to do all of the reading. Part of the participation for this course is “facilitating” discussion for a week of your choice. This means preparing questions and topics and guiding your colleagues in class discussion. Required books will be available for purchase at the campus bookstore and on reserve at the library. Other readings and viewings will be accessible through Course Reserves (CR) or on Blackboard (BB).

Responses (15%)
At the end of every unit, you will bring to class a one page response to the readings. This short essay should connect the texts and videos and be more analytical than reflective (see appended guidelines).

Midterm Essay (25%)
The midterm essay (5-6 pages) will analyze the relationship between sound and movement in a film (sources on blackboard; prompts to be distributed in class).

Final Paper (40%)
The final research paper (10-12 pages) will offer you the opportunity to analyze sources beyond the syllabus. We will develop proposals, edit selections, and present topics as a class before the final draft is due. 


Schedule

Week 1 
Thursday 

  • Introduction to the Course


Unit 1: Diaspora and Immigration

Week 2 
Tuesday

  • READ Chapters 1, 3-4 in African Roots (1-16, 33-70)

Thursday 

  • READ Chapters 6-9 in African Roots (91-188)


Week 3 
Tuesday 

  • READ  Chapter 2 in Moya, José. Cousins and Strangers (45-59, CR) 

Thursday 

  • READ “Tango as a Spectacle of Sex, Race and Class” in Savigliano, Marta. Tango and the Political Economy of Passion (30-72, CR)
  • WATCH Mi Buenos Aires Querido (BB)
  • WATCH Tango Intimo (BB)
  • Response DUE


Unit 2: National Dances: The Salsa and The Samba 

Week 4 
Tuesday 

  • READ Introduction, Chapters 1-2 in The City of Musical Memory (1-68)

Thursday 

  • READ Chapters 5-6, Epilogue in The City of Musical Memory (188-263)
  • WATCH “Salsa Colombia,” “Santiago de Cali y su feria” (BB)


Week 5 
Tuesday 

  • READ Prologue, Chapters 1-4 in Samba (3-72)

Thursday

  • READ Chapters 5-8, Epilogue in Samba (73-115, 241-2)
  • WATCH Orfeu Negro (BB)
  • Response DUE


Week 6 
Tuesday 

  • First Page DUE for Peer-Editing 

Thursday 

  • Midterm Essay DUE


Unit 3: Refried Rock and Roll 

Week 7 
Tuesday 

  • READ “Mapping Rock Cultures across the Americas” (1-21, RLA)

Thursday 

  • READ Introduction, Chapters 1-2 in Refried Elvis (1-92)


Week 8 
Tuesday

  • READ Chapters 3-5 in Refried Elvis (132-200)

Thursday

  • READ Chapters 6-7, Conclusions in Refried Elvis (201-260)
  • WATCH Antecedentes del Rock & Roll en Mexico (BB) 
  • Response DUE


Unit 4: Blame it on the Bossa Nova

Spring Break [Start Bossa Nova!]

Week 9 
Tuesday 

  • READ Bossa Nova (3-94)

Thursday 

  • READ Bossa Nova (95-228)


Week 10 
Tuesday 

  • READ Selections from Bossa Nova (229-298)
  • WATCH Bossa Nova (BBC) (BB)

Thursday

  • READ Let Me Sing my Brock” (200-219, RLA)
  • Response DUE


Unit 5: Rock and Authoritarianism

Week 11 
Tuesday 

  • READ Chapter 7 in Rock, David. Authoritarian Argentina (194-237, CR) 

Thursday 

  • READ Vila, Pablo. “Rock nacional and dictatorship in  Argentina” (129-48, BB)
  • Final Paper Proposal DUE


Week 12 
Tuesday

  • READ “The Politics and Anti-Politics of Uruguayan Rock” (115-141, RLA)

Thursday

  • WATCH Que sea rock (BB)
  • Response DUE


Unit 6: Neoliberal Punk 

Week 13 
Tuesday

  • READ “A Detour to the Past” (290-312, RLA)

Thursday 

  • READ “Neoliberalism and Rock in the Popular Sectors of Contemporary Argentina” (261-289, RLA)
  • Paper Outline DUE


Week 14 
Tuesday 

  • READ “Soy punkera, y qué?” (160-178, RLA)
  • Response DUE

Thursday

  • Course Conclusions (No reading)
  • First page DUE


Week 15 
Tuesday 

  • Presentations

Thursday

  • Presentations


Week 16 
Tuesday

  • Final Paper DUE