Global Popular Music Research Goals
The Global Popular Music team will develop unique campus and community strengths in both performance and scholarship of global music.
Across the globe, music is a driver of cultural and social change—think of the political impact of Fela in Nigeria or Bob Marley in Jamaica, the disruptive energies of punk or rap, or the massive social media presence of Beyoncé’s ecstatic fans, the Beehive. Each generation lives in its unique musical element, and orients its relation to the future with a specific soundtrack.
The enormous impact of music is widely acknowledged, but our understanding is anecdotal and partial. Practicing musicians often speak a wholly different analytical language than fans, who in turn often fail to understand the language of scholars producing social or aesthetic histories of music. There is need for an ambitious synthetic approach to the many aspects of Global Popular Music, and Indiana University is uniquely situated to undertake it.
The Global Popular Music Team will coordinate IU’s unique resources with two overarching research questions: How can we develop a better way of writing about music, one that combines accurate description of sonic and formal dimensions with social and theoretical analysis? And: How does music work as an agent of social change?