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First-Year Interdisciplinary Seminar: Urban Music, Urban Spaces

Semester and Year FA 2017
Course Number FIRST-UG105
Section 001
Instructor Kwami Coleman
Days MW
Time 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Units 4
Level U


Open to Gallatin first-year students only.


This course will introduce and acclimate students to the globalized music cosmopole that is New York City. As urban dwellers, we are constitutive parts of a vast and complex cultural ecosystem – and the global microcosm that is our city, New York City, reverberates with music that expresses the fullness and diversity of the lives of its inhabitants. Our way of understanding music making in this context, as well as the industry and cultural imperatives behind this music making, is through the city’s various music institutions. We will explore a cultural history of the city that highlights waves of migration, the establishment and destabilization of industry, institution building, ethnic enclaves, cultural diffusion, stylistic evolution, and locality. What are the music cultures that surround us, near NYU and beyond? How might musical performance and patronage give us insight into the role of arts and creative expression in the city and in the lives of its inhabitants? What can we learn about the relationship between music, the arts, and the social world? Students will be able to experience what they learn in class out in the city itself; they will be required to attend eight musical performances (picked by the instructor) in different parts of the city, each different in style and cultural context than the other.


All Syllabi

Course Type

First-Year Program: Interdisciplinary Seminars (FIRST-UG)