POSITION PAPER #1
DUE 2/11 in class
For your first writing assignment, please to compose a response to one of two recent readings, as prompted below. This essay should be between 550-750 words. As a guideline, you might present your discussion of the article in one and a half or two pages (300-400 words) and devote the rest to your analysis of the video (if choosing #1) or musical example (if choosing #2). Papers should be double-spaced, in Times New Roman 12 point font. When quoting from the readings, please include the page number of the quote in parentheses—no other documentation is required. Example: In his article, Malm coins the term transculturation, which he defines as “the result of the growth of the transnational corporations in the field of culture.” (343)
Due Tuesday in class—submit paper through Safeassign function in Blackboard and in hard copy in class. The Safe Assign link expires at 11:00 am on Tuesday.
Besides your adherence to the length and format requirements, your paper will be graded based on. 1) Your understanding of the article’s content and the author’s argument. 2) Your application of this understanding to the material specified (video/music). 3) The clarity of your writing and the presentation of your argument.
Please note well that the most important aspect of a position paper is its position (in other words, your paper needs to have an argument/thesis).
Prompts (choose one)
1. Krister Malm, “Music on the Move”
Ethnomusicologist Krister Malm provides us with a framework for understanding different ways in which musical traditions “move” around the globe and become altered. The video “Genghis Blues” tells the story of an indigenous musical tradition, tied closely to the physical environment of the steppes of Central Asia, which finds its way onto the world stage and attracts Western performers like Paul Pena. For your paper, craft a response that ties the two together and makes an argument, either about Malm’s model (what are its strengths or pitfalls?), or about Paul Pena’s musical experiment (what is the nature of the cultural exchange here?). It is up to you to summarize the reading and create your own argument, but it must draw from examples from these class materials.
2. Katherine Bergeron, “Finding God at Tower Records”
Musicologist Katherine Bergeron writes about the commercial appeal of early music, specifically Gregorian chant. She argues that this ancient music can be packaged in certain ways that appeal to modern listeners’ desire for simplicity, time, and spiritual connection. For your paper, craft a response to Bergeron’s argument by using your own experience of listening to one of the assigned chant examples mentioned in the article (“Os Lusti” by the Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos; or “Alleluia” by Ensemble Organum), which you should discuss in some detail. It is up to you to summarize the reading and create your own argument, but it must draw from examples from these class materials.