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Entangled Sounding Objects: Musical Instruments of Central Asia

CHUM 304
Fall 2023
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: ANTH 304, REES 204, FGSS 346
Course Cluster and Certificates: Urban Studies

Musical instruments exist at the intersection of material, cultural, and social worlds. Entangled in webs of human and non-human relationships, they are at once tangible and symbolic sounding objects that hold significant meanings for the communities they serve. This course will explore the social roles and cultural meanings of musical instruments in Central Asia, a region once traversed by the Silk Road, which extends from the borderlands of China in the east to the Caspian Sea in the west, and from Russia in the north to the frontiers of Afghanistan in the south.

Drawing on theories and ideas derived from interdisciplinary studies of material and sound culture, the course will examine how instrument making and performance are shaped by and entangled with social systems of value and cosmology, political ideology, ecology, and economy. Class meetings will focus on case studies of bowed and plucked lutes, zithers, mouth harps, end-blown flutes, and frame drums among historically nomadic and sedentary peoples of Central Asia. Through these case studies, students will learn about the origins and historical trajectories of individual musical instruments from the pre-modern period to the Soviet and post-Soviet eras; consider the social and political connotations of various performance configurations and repertoires; discuss the status of instruments in Islam and indigenous spiritual belief-systems, and the roles of musical instruments as symbols of national identity, objects of cultural heritage, and global commodities.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA CHUM
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (ANTH)(REES-Lang/Lit/C)
Past Enrollment Probability: 90% or above

Last Updated on JUN-16-2024
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