Folklore | Musical Responses to Aids Epidemic
F804 | 26129 | Cohen


The emergence of the AIDS pandemic in the early 1980s created not
only a medical crisis, but also a crisis of representation.
Attempts to describe the symptoms and disease mechanisms, facilitate
community conversations, lobby for governmental assistance, and
inform and educate the larger public led to an outpouring of social
activism, media activity, and creative output on many different
fronts.  In this course, we will explore the role of sound in these
efforts, both as they developed over time, and as they have been
handled by different populations.  How do people derive a sonic
vocabulary for describing a particular medical condition?  What are
the social and cultural conditions under which these musical
productions are performed and created?  How does the musical
response to AIDS compare to the sonic portrayal of other medical
conditions in history?  We will attempt to address these questions
through examples from the United States and Africa, including
performance art, popular music, musical theater, Western art music,
and grassroots musical initiatives.