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Department of Music

Popular Music and Politics in Israel

Course Code:
155800075
Unit value:
0.5
Taught in:
Term 1
Popular music and politics in Israel addresses the development of popular music in Israel from pre-State days to the present. Several songwriters and bands will be studied, to build up a picture of different approaches to the expression of national and ethnic identity in music. Particular focus is placed upon the relationship between national infrastructure (radio, TV, recordings, army ensembles) and popular music and on recent developments including growth of expression, since the 1980s, of minority ethnic identities in the mainstream Israeli popular music scene, and musical responses to recent political events.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

This course aims to provide in depth knowledge and understanding of the development of popular music in modern Israel, from early Zionist settlers in pre-state Palestine until the present day. Particular focus will be placed upon the interaction of music and politics. Here, politics is considered in a broad sense: aside from the international and national political scene, this course will focus on the relationships between different religious and ethnic groups and communities within Israeli society.

Via this subject material, this course seeks to develop students’ critical thinking and understanding of wider issues in the study of music, including the relationship between ideology and music; roles played by music in the formation and expression of national identity; the ways in which popular music may reflect and/or offer a commentary on complex power relations within society; music as a symbol of protest or affirmation; networks of production and distribution in popular music.

Workload

2 hours per week

Scope and syllabus

This specialist course is designed to run in alternate years to the more general course Aspects of Jewish Music. For students who have taken AJM this course is intended to allow them to pursue an interest in this topic further; it is also suitable for students new to this subject area and for non-Music students; it might, for example, be paired with other courses in Jewish and Israeli history and culture. This course is designed to complement and enhance the Department’s provision of courses on contemporary and popular musics.

Popular music and politics in Israel addresses the development of popular music in Israel from pre-State days to the present. Several songwriters and bands will be studied, to build up a picture of different approaches to the expression of national and ethnic identity in music. Particular focus is placed upon the relationship between national infrastructure (radio, TV, recordings, army ensembles) and popular music and on recent developments including growth of expression, since the 1980s, of minority ethnic identities in the mainstream Israeli popular music scene, and musical responses to recent political events.

Method of assessment

10% Exam (Listening) and 90% Coursework