Fall 2023

Music and Difference

Listed in: First Year Seminar, as FYSE-114


Jason Robinson (Section 01)


What do we hear when we listen to music?  By developing active listening skills and drawing from the “deep listening” practice of composer and improviser Pauline Oliveros, this course encourages students to hear music as histories, politics, protests, and structures. This kind of close listening reveals a profound connection between musical expression and foundational aspects of the human experience. In questioning our assumptions about the nature of music, we discover that music—and sound more broadly—reflects ideas about difference, belonging, and exclusion. With a primary focus on American music, we will examine how modes of difference, including race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and religion, are expressed in musical performance and (re)contextualized in listening. Course readings will include texts by Pauline Oliveros, Susan McClary, Ruth Solie, Paul D. Miller (DJ Spooky), Stuart Hall, Paul Gilroy, and others. Students will be encouraged to transpose close listening into critical thinking and writing.

Fall semester. Professor Robinson.

How to handle overenrollment: First Years Only

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Coursework will include reading, writing, listening, and viewing assignments. Class discussions will be guided by concepts introduced in reading assignments, and students will be asked to further develop their ideas in writing assignments.

FYSE 114 - LEC

Section 01
Tu 11:30 AM - 12:50 PM FOHA 109
Th 11:30 AM - 12:50 PM FOHA 109


Other years: Offered in Fall 2023