The Beat Goes On: Music, Media, and Society
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Level: Undergraduate
Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: School of Media Studies
Department: Communication
Course Number: NCOM 3050
Course Format: Seminar
Location: Online
Permission Required: No
  • Media Studies
  • Music History, Theory & Criticism
  • Media & Culture
In his 1977 book, Noise: The Political Economy of Music, Jacques Attali describes music as "a way of perceiving the world" that serves both communicative and organizing functions within societies. In comparison with other forms of discourse, which must often present credible evidence to support their claims, music seems to have a fairly simple appeal. In Bob Marley's words, "When it hits you, you feel okay." We examine the social organizing functions of music through a series of queries: Is music fuel for political action, a distraction, or both? How does it relate to local and national identities? What is a protest song (from Lennon to Public Enemy)? Is popular music organizing us not only socially but economically? Through readings of theorists from Theodor Adorno to Tricia Rose, consideration of artists like Public Enemy and Banda Macho of Mexico, and viewing of films like the cult classic Rockers, students explore questions like these to draw their own conclusions about just how much of our lives is dictated by the beat that goes on.
Course Open to: Degree Students