This 7-week course examines diverse musics – art, popular, folk, ethnic – from around the world as they react to and interact with the political realm in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Music’s role in democracy will be analyzed through the lens of censorship and protest while the efficacy of music as a tool of reconciliation in geographic areas of sectarianism and conflict will be explored. We will engage critically with concepts such as nationalism, postcolonialism, and globalization, while differentiating politics of ideology and cultural politics. Extending the boundaries of music to embrace the aural more generally, we will address the politics of sound, silence, and noise. In addressing issues such as technological mediation, we will question the politics that inhere in designing the digital formats in which our music is stored. No prior experience in music, art, social or political science is required. Students from all disciplines are encouraged to participate.