MUSC 355: Gender and Sound

Associate Professor Andrea Bohlman
Tues/Thurs, 9:30 – 10:45 am

This course has three themes: listening bodies, sounding bodies, moving bodies. As humans, our experience of the world is shaped by our bodies: the capacities of our ears, the mobility of our limbs, the work of our voices, faces, and hands to express our ideas to others. We will study a range of musical, performance practices, and sound compositions that address the intersection of identity and creative expression. Class discussions begin with a focus on gender—as a way of thinking about embodiment and power—but include analysis of the social work of sound through a consideration of race, ethnicity, sexuality, class, and nationality, too.

Gender and Sound is a seminar-style course designed to facilitate a lot of conversation and close listening together and develop a larger research paper around an artist or work of the student’s choosing. The class watches drag shows, listens to feminist recordings of nature, practices vocal exercises, and this semester will study Meredith Monk’s Cellular Songs, which will be presented at CPA this spring. This spring, the class will also be curating a record display and event at the Music Library as part of this spring’s workshop series, a project to subvert the traditionally masculine ethos of record collecting and DJ culture.

This is an upper-level course designed for people with musical experience. While there is a technical requirement of MUSC 254, this can be waived in consultation with the instructor. Students can expect to be mentored on their writing and research skills. They also have relative creative freedom for the assignments and are encouraged to make things collaboratively (zines, an exhibit in the library) and individually (a longer written piece).

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