Fall 2019 - CA 341 E100

World Music (3)

Class Number: 9804

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 6:30 PM – 9:20 PM
    HCC 1700, Vancouver

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 10, 2019
    7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
    HCC 1315, Vancouver

    Dec 10, 2019
    7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
    HCC 1325, Vancouver

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units.



The relationship of music and culture, with emphasis on traditional and contemporary music in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean, and indigenous cultures of North America. Specific cultural areas may be selected for intensive study in any particular term. May be of particular interest to students in other departments. Students with credit for FPA 341 may not take this course for further credit.


Since the Marvel/Disney superhero movie Black Panther was released in February 2018, it has broken box office records and become one of the highest-grossing films of all time. It has also brought the word “Afrofuturism” into mainstream popular culture. A term first used by academics and artists in the 1990s, the concept predates its name by several decades and its themes can be traced through many forms of creative expression. This course is an introduction to Afrofuturism as it manifests in music, from the 1960s to the present.

Afrofuturism is a cultural movement that deals with themes of alienation, abduction, and otherness; Pan-African identity and spirituality; resistance, resilience, and hope; utopian and dystopian futures and alternative pasts; and space, science, technology, imagination, and liberation. An interdisciplinary movement, it is not confined to music and intersects with literature, visual arts, dance, theatre, film, religion, philosophy, and metaphysics, to name a few. A background in music is helpful but not required for this course and you do not need to read Western music notation.

We will cover a cross-section of genres (jazz, soul, Afrobeat, funk, disco, R&B, hip hop, and more), focusing on artists in North America and Africa. From the early musical pioneers (Sun Ra, George Clinton) to the movement’s latest proponents (Janelle Monae, Kendrick Lamar), this course will introduce you to artists you may not be familiar with and show you new ways of engaging with those you already know. We will trace the themes and imagery of Afrofuturism and grapple with ongoing theories and discourses of race, power, technology, and identity.


  1. You will increase your capacity to critically engage with current discourses in arts and culture and gain analytical tools for engaging with historical and current events.
  2. You will develop your discussion, presentation, and writing skills and hone your ability to analyze, debate, and construct a supported argument.
  3. You will be introduced to core concepts from ethnomusicology and its related disciplines (anthropology, history, media studies, etc.)
  4. 4) You will develop a deeper understanding of the experiences of Afro-diasporic people and the role of music in social movements.


  • Participation 10%
  • Reading Responses 35%
  • Midterm Blog post 10%
  • Annotated Bibliography/Literature Review 15%
  • Group Project 15%
  • Final Exam 15%



The format of this course is one 3-hour block each week. Each class will be divided into a lecture (1-1.5 hours), a short break (15 mins), and a seminar (1-1.5 hours). During seminars, students will work in pairs or small groups for discussions, analysis, and other activities. The course is assessed as follows:

Participation: 10%

Evaluated based on your contributions, and engagement during seminar discussions and group work. As a result, attendance is a key component of this course. Please enrol only if you are prepared to make this commitment.

Reading Responses: 35% (7 x 5%)

Short (200-400 word) responses on a selected reading from each week. Instructions for the next week are found on the final slide of the current week’s presentation slides (on Canvas). You must upload your response to Canvas each week and bring a digital or print copy to seminar with you. You will use your written responses to participate in group discussions.

Midterm Blog Post: 10%

Attend a live music event and write a blog post (400-500 words) discussing it, introducing it to a general audience, and connecting it with course content. The blog post will be submitted to Canvas.

Annotated Bibliography/Literature Review: 15%

Choose two articles that we have not read in class but are related to the material and summarize each in 500 words (1000 words total). This is an opportunity to gather research on the topic you have chosen for your group project.

Group project: 15%

Open topic research project with your group that will culminate in 15-minute presentations during the last two or three seminars of the term. You will assess your own contributions as well as those of your team members and be assessed by the teaching team.

Final Exam: 15%

Take-home reflective essay

Late Assignments

10% of your grade will be subtracted for every day an assignment is late (including weekends) to a maximum of 3 days, after which it will not be accepted.



Womack, Ytasha L. 2013. Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture. Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books. Ebook available through SFU Library.

Anderson, Reynaldo, and Charles E. Jones. 2016. Afrofuturism 2.0: The Rise of Astro-Blackness. Lanham: Lexington Books.
ISBN: 9781498510523

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html