in spring of 2010 i taught a course whose title i kept changing from anthropology of music and technology to music and exchange, music and global flows, technology and global flows, etc. in the end, the class was successful but should have done more to think about exchange and the internet (as keith hart writes here, for example). i’ll be writing more about this later, but i don’t feel you can successfully write an anthropology of the internet without thinking about a very maussian exchange… at any rate, here is my syllabus for those interested in the paths.
In recent years, music here in New York City and around the world has changed dramatically due to computers and other technologies. Beginning with a critical overview of archive and technology and moving to globalization/global flows, this course entertains the idea that music and globalization go hand and hand, dealing with shifts such as:
- The rise of the “global south” in music popularity, including cumbia and baile funk;
- Internet exchanges of DJs, music blogs and other online arenas;
- Musical relationships like “world music,” cultural patrimony, tourism, etc;
This course is interdisciplinary in its sources, but anthropological in its methodology: we are, like the people we read, participants in cultures, listeners of music and sometimes producers. Thus, from sources as diverse as anthropology, online writing and music videos, guest speakers, and music itself, the course will urge students to see music not only as an aesthetic – and fun – form, but as a vital component of human culture, engaging its religious, historical, economic and political dimensions.