Music, Religion, and America
Studying music without considering religion is just as impractical as studying religion without considering music. From rock bands to church choirs to Buddhist monks, this course examines multiple intersections between religion and music in the United States. What can we identify as distinctive about the American experience of music and religion? How do the terms “music,” “religion,” and “American” shift across sacred sonic practices? We will compare the use of music and sound in a number of different religions found in this country, from Native American practices to immigrant traditions based in Christianity, Islam, and more. Outside of specific faith communities, we will also explore the religious as a theme within US popular music. By the end of the course, students will have a broader understanding of a representative selection of American religions and their musics, as well as a deeper engagement with fundamental questions arising from the study of sacred sounds.