On Belonging: Music, Displacement, and Well-Being
- Carol Mueller
- College of Arts & Sciences, Department of Music
First-Year Seminar Grant
The 2020s has begun as a time of global existential angst: we are all living with so much uncertainty and change. Think of the impact of the COVID pandemic and the questioning of science in the form of vaccine resistance; climate change challenges; a technological and educational revolution; growing income inequality; the urgency of BLM protests in the USA, moves against dictatorships, the need to decolonize universities, and the pressure to address human rights and refugee challenges. But it is also a moment of real excitement, with increased technological access and presence in our lives. In fact, the capacity to connect to others almost anywhere in the world, immediately, is truly revolutionary. As is the capacity to plug into the sound of the world’s music in an instant. Through personal music listening, for example, we can use music to soothe, to excite, to travel imaginatively, to focus, for meditation, as a soundtrack to our everyday lives, and as emotional regulation. But the work of music for personal wellbeing and collective healing is much larger than just an individualized listening experience. This seminar opens up the issue of emotional regulation and collective healing by examining the relationship between sound and musical practice, performance, and engagement, both locally and around the world. You might think about this seminar as a kind of reflexive moment as you arrive on campus: as undergraduates and members of communities you will think about the relationship between your own recent move/displacement and the work of music/sound as a strategy of individual and collective belonging. There will be an ABCS component to the class.