SP.694 / WGS.694 Issues of Representation: Women, Representation, and Music in Selected Folk Traditions of the British Isles and North America

Fall 2005

Irish bag-pipe, once popular in the Emerald Isle.
An old Irish bag-pipe, once popular in the Emerald Isle - in a home in Cork, Ireland. (Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division [reproduction number, LC-USZ62-67034 (b&w film copy neg. of half stereo)].)

Course Highlights

This course features an extensive reading and listening list in the readings section.

Course Description

This subject investigates the special relation of women to several musical folk traditions in the British Isles and North America. Throughout, we will be examining the implications of gender in the creation, transmission, and performance of music. Because virtually all societies operate to some extent on a gendered division of labor (and of expressive roles) the music of these societies is marked by the gendering of musical repertoires, traditions of instrumentation, performance settings, and styles. This seminar will examine the gendered dimensions of the music - the song texts, the performance styles, processes of dissemination (collection, literary representation) and issues of historiography - with respect to selected traditions within the folk musics of North America and the British Isles, with the aim of analyzing the special contributions of women to these traditions. In addition to telling stories about women's musical lives, and studying elements of female identity and subjectivity in song texts and music, we will investigate the ways in which women's work and women's cultural roles have affected the folk traditions of these several countries.
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Prof. Ruth Perry
Prof. Judith Tick

Course Meeting Times

One session / week
3 hours / session