Writing about World Music

Davidson College, Spring 2016

Author: Greg (page 1 of 2)

Office Hours Schedule

Here are my office hours before your papers are due:

Friday, April 29: 12–4
Monday, May 2: 12–5
Tuesday, May 3: 3–5
Wednesday, May 4: 1:30–4:30
Thursday, May 5: 12–4

Please feel free to drop by during these times to discuss your papers, or email me to make an appointment at an alternate time. Also, don’t forget that you can make an appointment at the Writing Center if you need some additional help with your paper!

The Poet’s Salary

Any of you wishing to watch the entire documentary The Poet’s Salary (about song writing and singing in Vanuatu) can do so on YouTube. You can also learn more about the project on linguist Alexandre François’s website.

Unit 3 Schedule

This post contains a revised schedule of reading and writing assignments. The dates on the syllabus are entirely wrong, so you should use this as your guideline for the final weeks of the course. This schedule is still subject to some minor modification, depending on how the final project progresses, but it will be more or less accurate. Continue reading

Week 9 Schedule

Here is the schedule for critique group meetings week 9. Remember, you are required only to come at the time your group is meeting; you do not need to come to the other class time that week!

Tuesday, March 15, 11:05–12:05 (Common Hour, in the usual room, Sloan B011): Group C

Tuesday, March 15, 12:15–1:30 (regular class time): Group A

Thursday, March 17, 12:15–1:30 (regular class time): Group B

Directions for the critique will be added to the Project 2 by Sunday evening.

Meetings Schedule

The following is the schedule of individual meetings to discuss the first project. You should come to your meeting with a copy of your paper and be prepared to discuss the work you’ve done on it. If you are unable to come to your scheduled appointment for some reason, please contact me as soon as possible so that we can reschedule.

Wednesday, February 10


Thursday, February 11


Friday, February 12


Project 2 Critique Groups

For Project #2, these will be the critique groups:

Group A: Allen Barry, Matt Begley, Jalen Madden, Annabel Schulz, Will Thurston

Group B: Alex Carpenter, Léonie Kirchgeorg, Rachel Salter, Allyson Taylor, Sean Wright

Group C: John Bost, Dan Spear, Evan Stack, Victor-Alan Weeks

Peer Critique for Feb. 2

Our second peer critique (and the final one for the first unit) will take place in class on Tuesday, February 2. As with the first critique, you should prepare by reading the papers belonging to everyone in your critique group, and also by preparing a written critique of the paper belonging to the person who is directly above you in your group’s alphabetic list. You should be prepared to lead discussion of that paper in class.

For your critique, you should do the following:

  1. Choose one paragraph in which the author has described a musical event and assess the “thickness” of that description. In particular, pay attention to how the author uses thick description to support his/her overall claim. Do you see the relevance of the details included in the description? Are there any that can be cut, or any that you think need to be expanded or added?
  2. Assess the way in which the author uses textual evidence (i.e., either Bohlman or Nettl). Are there sufficient connections between the text and the thick description? Does the author use these effectively to support the central claim?

You should come to class with (paper or electronic) copies of all of the papers in your group. You should also be able to give a copy of your detailed critique to the paper author and to me. (This means that you need either two physical copies of that paper, or that you should email the critique to me and the author.)


Assignment: Project 1, Draft 3

This draft is due on Moodle no later than 11pm on Sunday, January 31. We will critique the drafts in class on Tuesday, February 2.

In this draft, you will use Bohlman and/or Nettl, as well as your own description of your musical experience, to respond to the question, “Is music universal?

As you have seen, there are a large variety of ways that you can respond to this question, and it is up to you to determine your particular approach. You can think of this draft as a revision of Draft #2, but you will need to substantially refocus that draft and expand on some notion of universality for the draft to be successful. In other words, you may need to define what you mean by “universal” (and what you do not mean), and show how your own experience fits into that definition (or not, depending on what sort of response you give). As with the previous drafts, this draft requires that you make an argument but it doesn’t require a particularly detailed central claim or thesis. (We’ll work on claims and introductions in the next unit of the course. For now, you should have some sort of a thesis, but it need not be much more detailed than a response to the yes/no prompt and a short explanation of why you have taken that position.) The primary purpose of this draft is for you to figure out how to build clear and persuasive connections between textual and personal evidence, which requires that you are aware of your warrants and when they do (and do not) need to be stated. This draft can be a bit longer than the previous two, but it should not be more than 1,000 words (or approximately 3 typed, double-spaced pages).

Peer Critique Groups

Here are your peer critique groups for the first unit of the course:

Group A: Allen Barry, John Bost, Jalen Madden, Evan Stack, Sean Wright

Group B: Rachel Salter, Annabel Schulz, Dan Spear, Allyson Taylor, Victor-Alan Weeks

Group C: Matt Begley, Alex Carpenter, Leonie Kirchgeorg, Will Thurston

Blog Post Guidelines

Throughout the semester, we will collectively maintain a blog in which we reflect on issues and works of relevance to our course. This document contains some guidelines for using the blog.

You must contribute at least one item to the blog every week! Sometimes you might just comment on a colleague’s post (from that week or from earlier); sometimes you might post a more extensive entry of your own. It is up to you to pace yourself throughout the semester, but by the end of the course, you are expected to have contributed about 7–8 original entries, and about 7–8 comments on colleagues’ entries. Continue reading

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