Politics, Music and Society

Music’s political importance was recognized long ago by theorists in both East and West. Plato, for example, wrote that ‘when the mode of music changes, the walls of the city tremble’, and Confucians and Legalists engaged in extended controversy over the social desirability of music. Students will be asked to read theoretical writings on music and politics by these and other thinkers (including Rousseau, Nietzsche, and Adorno) and to consider how music has been exploited at the level of political practice for a wide variety of purposes from promoting nationalism to articulating popular protest.

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