Soundscapes-Music as Human Practice

Discipline: Anthropology
Instructor: Kramer
Credits: 3

Field Work: Soundscapes-Music as Human Practice
Prerequisites: None

Official Catalog Description: Musical communities and soundscapes from around the world provide exploration points for how music and sound inform human life. Study everything from playlists to music of distant lands. Ability to read notated music not required.


This course provides an anthropological approach to the study of how music and sound inform human life. Rather than “sight-seeing,” we will study what can be learned from urban environments by engaging in “sound-hearing.” The ports of call on the Semester at Sea fall 2022 voyage will be the laboratories for the course. Particular emphasis will be placed on public religious rituals, processions, bells, and calls as the sacred and secular merge in the urban soundscape. Students will seek to understand the sensory experience of the city’s sonic culture through analytical reflections about the political, cultural, and theological implications of these sounds. Throughout the course, students will maintain “listening/observation journals” of on-shore experiences, as they study anthropological tools for a deepened understanding of these experiences while at sea. In these journals, students will reflect on their experiences of city soundscapes enhanced by class readings and discussions.

This class is also offered as MU 232 through the CSU School of Music, Theatre, and Dance.

Field Work