Music and Politics

Subject MUSI20204 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 1 x 2hr lecture a week
Total Time Commitment:

136 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Dr David Irving


David Irving

Subject Overview:

This subject examines the complex relationship between music and politics from a number of different perspectives, through a series of case studies and key moments in history, demonstrating that music never completely transcends politics but is deeply implicated in many forms of social action and control. It examines issues including the use (and abuse) of music by political regimes, the role of music in international diplomacy, and the function of music in social action and revolution. Students will gain interdisciplinary perspectives on research into studying music and politics, and develop skills to critique the ways in which music is used (or abused) for political motives or economic interests.

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this course, students should have gained the ability to:

  • Analyse the relationship between music, politics and social interaction from the perspectives of ethnomusicology, sociology, and history
  • Analyse and critique the affective uses of music in political processes
  • Evaluate the relationship between nation-states and their arts programs
  • Critically engage with literature in the field
  • attendance and participation, ongoing throughout the teaching period (10%)
  • 1500 word book or video review, due mid-semester (20%)
  • in-class test (multiple choice and short answer), due Week 10 (30%)
  • 2000 word independent research assignment, due end of semester (40%)
Prescribed Texts:

Prescribed readings will be available via the LMS.

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject, students should have developed:

  • a receptive attitude to new ideas
  • the capacity for independent and critical reflection
  • knowledge, skills and practices required for independent critical inquiry and research-based writing and presentation
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Performance/ Composition/ Musicology/ Ethnomusicology Specialisation (B-MUS Version 5 only)

Download PDF version.