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Sounds of Resistance: The Future is Now!

Department: Literature

Instructor: Mayra Cortes
Instructor's Email:
Prerequisites: none 
Section ID: 155729 

Schedule: Tuesdays and Thursdays 9AM - 11AM PST


Course Description

In this course, we will examine the sounds of resistance that occurred in the past and that continue to be recreated today. We will analyze literary texts such as Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the poetry of Maya Angelou, and Sandra Cisneros’ short story, “Woman Hollering Creek.” In addition, we will also listen to and examine the songs of the following artists: Sam Cooke and Tupac Amaru Shakur. How did these writers and singers, for instance, use their voices and music to sing against the injustices of racism and sexism while envisioning a better world for themselves, their families, and their communities? Our reading and listening of these works of art will be accompanied with the work of critical race studies and sound studies scholars. How can sound help individuals and communities resist, heal, and inspire social change? What music inspires you? What makes someone a creative and community-oriented soundmaker and listener?

Course Goals / Learning Objectives

At the end of this course, students will not only have a better understanding of how sounds (literature, poetry, songs, music, speeches, and art) of the past and the present have been used as technologies of protest, resistance, and community-building, but will also be able to voice what resistance sounds like to them. In addition, they will learn to better articulate why and how these sounds inspire them to work to create positive social change today. Students will be able to do this by creating their own “playlist” of protest, resistance, and revolution as a “sound tapestry” (that is, by producing a research project, story, personal narrative, video, songs, speech, music, poetry, art, etc.,). By thinking of themselves as listeners and soundmakers of the world, this class seeks to inspire students to examine how their personal experiences and passions connect with their academic, career, and community-oriented goals.

Course Topics

  • Sound, Race, and Racism in America
  • What is “Sonic Warfare”?
  • Speech, Song, and Music as Technologies of Protest, Resistance, and Revolution
  • Women’s Sonic Liberation: “I’m Speaking”
  • Sounding Justice Today

*Courses vary by experience and exposure to content. Instructors have the ability to change content and pace to serve the needs of students. Courses have been modified for online teaching.