Ido Oren
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Political Science

The architecture of this course mirrors several musical concepts. First, like a fugue, or like many popular songs, the course has an overarching, recurring theme, or refrain: questioning—through the medium of music—the idea that cultures (or societies) are fixed, watertight compartments separated from each other by thick boundaries. Second, like a concerto, the course is divided into three movements. Each movement offers a different perspective on the multifaceted relationship between music and global political forces. The first movement will explore how music moves us and proceed to highlight the significance of rhythmic, coordinated movement for military affairs, nation building, and war mongering. The second movement will focus on the use of music—especially Jazz—in the service of Cold War diplomacy. The focus on Jazz should heighten students’ awareness of the legacies of slavery and colonialism and the significance of the color line in global politics. The third movement will explore the deployment of music in post-Cold War diplomacy, with a focus on Hip Hop. It will take us on a fascinating journey through sites ranging from North African kasbahs to Brazilian favelas, from the Paris banlieues to the South Bronx. Along the way, we’ll encounter a complex web of global forces and processes, including Sufi, Salafi, and African American Islam; the war of terror; and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.