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SMC revives global music course

| Friday, January 23, 2015

Saint Mary’s College started the new semester off with the reintroduction of an old course in the music department: global music.

Assistant professor of musicology and ethnomusicology Emily McManus reimplemented the class, which is open to both music majors and students in other fields.

“It is fascinating how much we can learn about other people and cultures through the music and dance that they perform,” she said.

McManus said the class, through music, discusses different cultures and places across the globe each semester.

“This class prepares students to engage with an increasingly globalized world and to recognize and think critically about navigating cross-cultural interactions and communications,” she said.

The course, which has currently only has four students enrolled, has two components, McManus said. The first focuses on case studies from around the globe.

“Case studies range from the Aymara indigenous community in Peru/Bolivia/Chile to global hip-hop, and from music and nation formation in Israel to music as form of political resistance in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” McManus said.

McManus said the second component involves learning research methods and writing case studies on music in South Bend.

“Part of this project is realizing that this kind of research can be conducted anywhere and that our local communities are increasingly globalized,” McManus said. “Ideally, students will leave this course with a greater understanding of the cultural diversity of South Bend.” 

Senior Rachel Schwartz, who is taking the class to finish her music minor, said the small class size helps facilitate discussion and opens the door to all students to get a word in.

“I’m hoping to come out of this course having learned more about music from other cultures and other parts of the world, as well as just learning about music from a more academic point of view,” Schwartz said.

Julia Crant, a junior psychology major taking the class as an elective, said the course helps her think in a more global context and develop a better understanding of music and cultures from across the globe.

“[The course] makes me think of music in a different way,” she said. “I wasn’t aware of all the different styles of music each culture has.

McManus said the course does not require any previous experience with music, since many of the cultures that the students examine do not use the same musical system Saint Mary’s students learn.

“Non-majors and majors will all be starting in the same place and will need to learn techniques for analyzing music that are not culture-specific,” McManus said. “These are methods that can easily be applied to the music of your daily life. More importantly, I think non-majors will gain a great understanding of the ways in which music and dance function in their own daily lives, as well as the lives of people across the globe.”


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About Nicole Caratas

Nicole is a senior English Writing and Humanistic Studies double major at Saint Mary's College. Now a senior news writer, she previously served as the Saint Mary's Editor. She was born in real Chicago but grew up in the suburbs, and she currently lives in Opus Hall.

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