Skip to main content

Topics in History: A Global History of Music

A black and white scan of a newspaper featuring 8 men in tuxedos holding various instruments
"A musica regional brasileira no Velho Mundo," A Noite (Rio de Janeiro), 14 August 1922, 6.

How does music circle the globe? How has its cultural significance changed over the course of the twentieth century? In what ways has it been a force of action and change, a means to grapple with difference and violence, or a medium to transmit knowledge and foster community? To sound the past for answers to these questions is to acknowledge the continued social and symbolic importance of music in today’s increasingly globalized and networked world. A Global History of Music traces the movement of artists and producers, shellac records and cassette tapes, sheet music and radio broadcasts, as well as local and diasporic audiences within or between cities such as Rio de Janeiro, Paris, Rabat, Montreal, Honolulu, New York, Tokyo, London, and Kingston (Jamaica). The course will ask students to consider the entangled histories of music making from a variety of global perspectives, encouraging them to think critically about the – often asymmetrical – relationships that allow music to travel.  

Department of History, Queen's University

49 Bader Lane, Watson Hall 212
Kingston ON K7L 3N6




Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.