Urban Soundscapes

Eugene Lang College Lib Arts: The Arts

Liberal Arts

Undergraduate Course

Degree Students

Urban Soundscapes

Spring 2020

Taught By: Amanda L. Scherbenske

Section: A

CRN: 3847

Credits: 4

Musical centers such as New York, Paris, and Los Angeles are often the focus of the attention of musicians, the public, and scholarship alike. These are also the places said to have transitioned well from an industrial to a postindustrial economy, at least in part, because of their arts scenes that are central, exceptional, and at the pinnacle of laboring forms. Such scenes are often portrayed in a positive light: but has there been collateral damage along the way to the “successful” navigation of shifting economic paradigms? What particular features of place, economy, and social life contribute to this understanding of music and emplacement and the meanings they produce? How is sound ecology, which entails both the environment of sound and how sound impacts the environment, implicated in these issues? Finally, what can be learned by studying places, people, and sounds not only within such centers but also at the periphery? This course engages these questions in three primary ways: First, it explores what it means to take a sonic approach to understanding and being in the metropolis. Second, it analyzes how sound ecology is tied to economy, the arts, and social life in urban contexts. Third, it takes Newark, NJ as case study to examine, on one hand, the extraordinary contributions its artists have made to global music culture—from jazz legends Sarah Vaughan and Wayne Shorter and Black arts activists Amiri Baraka and Europe Harmon to hip-hop artists Redman and Lauren Hill; while on the other, to discuss the disregard and disinvestment of a city—like many other American cities with an industry-based economy and a majority African American population—in the postindustrial era. Drawing on literature from urban studies and planning, sound studies, ethnomusicology and musicology, and the cultural industries, this course will consider the role of music, sound, and artists in the constitution of labor, economy, and ecology and how place is endowed with meaning these intersections. Finally, it calls students to consider what critical arts and sound interventions may be made toward social and ecological justice in urban spaces, without the pernicious effects—such as the displacement of long-time, local minority residents—that so often accompany such projects. This upper-level course is restricted to sophomores, juniors, and seniors.

College: Eugene Lang College Lib Arts (LC)

Department: The Arts (LARS)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Max Enrollment: 18

Add/Drop Deadline: February 3, 2020 (Monday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: April 12, 2020 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Open*

*Status information is updated every five minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 5:21pm 12/11/2019 EST

Meeting Info:

Days: Tuesday, Thursday

Times: 10:00am - 11:40am

Building: TBD

Room: TBD

Date Range: 1/21/2020 - 5/7/2020