SCAND 490 / 590: The Singing Revolution. Syllabus, Winter Quarter 2016
MW 1:30-3:20, Clark Hall 120; SLN: 18213, 18219
Instructor: Guntis Šmidchens; firstname.lastname@example.org; Phone: (206) 616-5224, Office Raitt 305-V, T&Th 12:30-1:20
This course explores the history of singing traditions in the Baltic. We aim to reconstruct a historical and cultural context for the “Singing Revolution,” the nonviolent movement for the independence of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, 1988-1991.
- Seek answers to the question: What role does singing play in politics?
- Learn the history of singing traditions in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania
- Learn (about) key songs in the three national traditions
- Practice the methods of folkloristics: Analyze meanings and functions of songs and singing in context.
- G. Šmidchens, The Power of Song (2014), available in print or as an e-book at the UW Library.
- A Force More Powerful, six 30-minute documentary film series by Steve York
- James and Maureen Tusty, The Singing Revolution (2008 documentary)
- Other readings and films, as listed in the course schedule
- 33% Class participation: Come to class prepared to discuss songs assigned for that day
- 33% Nine short response essays / take-home exams
- 33% Independent research project – to be discussed with instructor.
How to remember and discuss songs: Write brief notes on the songs you encounter, including:
- One-sentence summary of the song text (what the words say; content)
- Ethnography of song in context (Who sang? For whom? In what tradition(s)?)
- Notes on the song’s “texture” (rhythm, rhyme, melody, performance style)
- Meanings (associations singers made when they sang or remembered songs)
- Functions (what the song did; its effect on singers & audiences, and history).