The Anthropology of Music

Humanities & Social Sciences
Course Code
ANTH 2250
Semester Length
15 Weeks
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Course Designation
Certificate in Global Competency
Industry Designation
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
This course will introduce students to the Anthropology of Music and Ethnomusicology, and more specifically, the study of the relationship between music and culture. The course incorporates both the scholarship of this field and elements of experiential learning. Although students will engage in some experiential learning, no previous musical skills or expertise is required. The course will cover a variety of ethnographic areas, the contexts and processes involved in the creation, performance, and reception of music, and the everyday categories of music that we ‘live by’ such as World Music, Ethnic Music, and others. Students will engage with key theoretical perspectives, such as Feminism, Marxism, and Phenomenology. In addition, students will be trained in the ethnographic method in relation to music, sound, and culture.
Course Content
  • Ethnocentrism and Cultural Relativism
  • History of Ethnomusicology
  • The Music of Selves and Others
  • Ethnographic and Ethnomusicological Field Methods
  • Anthropology of Sound
  • Globalization
  • World Music
  • Music and Spirituality/Possession
  • Gender and Music
  • Race, Ethnicity, Diaspora, and Music
  • Musics of Resistance
  • Postcolonial Studies
  • Identity and Music
  • Indigeneity and Music
Learning Activities

Methods of instruction may include some or all of the following:

  • Lecture
  • Seminar
Means of Assessment

Assessment will be based on course objectives and will be carried out in accordance with the Douglas College Evaluation Policy. The instructor will provide a written course outline with section specific criteria during the first week of classes.

An example of a possible assessment scheme:

An ethnographic sound analysis 25%

Group seminars on readings/oral presentations 20%

Review of a performance 15%

Research paper 20%

Final exam 20%

Total 100%

Students may conduct research with human participants as part of their coursework in this class. Instructors for the course are responsible for ensuring that student research projects comply with College policies on ethical conduct for research involving human subjects.

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course successful students will be able to:

1. identify the various areas of scholarship in the study of the Anthropology of Music and Ethnomusicology.

2. outline a variety of theoretical perspectives presented in the Anthropology of Music and Ethnomusicology which draw on both disciplinary and interdisciplinary scholarship.

3. demonstrate an understanding of the field methods involved in Ethnomusicology and the Anthropology of Music today.

4. engage experientially in various musics of the world as presented in World Music workshops. Although predominately a scholarship-based course there will be opportunities to engage in ‘hands-on’ learning of some world music grounded in specific ethnographic areas.

5. demonstrate oral presentation skills and guide seminars using a set of readings on a theme in the Anthropology of Music.

6. demonstrate an understanding of musical ethnography.

Textbook Materials

A combination of a textbook and a series of article readings or a series of article readings may be utilized.

Typical examples of textbooks are:

George E. Ruckert. Music in North India: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture (Global Music Series). Oxford University Press. 2003.

Barz, Gregory F. & Timothy J. Cooley. Shadows in the Field: New Perspectives for Fieldwork in Ethnomusicology. Second Edition. Oxford University Press. 2008.

Bruno Nettl, Philip Bohlman and Martin Stokes. Becoming an Ethnomusicologist: A Miscellany of Influences. Europea: Ethnomusicologies and Modernities Scarecrow Press. 2013.

Terry Miller & Andrew Shahriari World Music: A Global Journey. NY: Routledge. 2012.

Kay Kaufman Shelemay Editor. Ethnomusicology: History, Definitions and Scope: A Core Collection of Scholarly Articles. NY: Garland. 1992.

Bruno Nettl. The Study of Ethnomusicology: Thirty-one Issues and Concepts. University of Illinois Press. 2005.

Ellen Koskoff and Suzanne Cusick. A Feminist Ethnomusicology: Writings on Music and Gender. University of Illinois Press. 2014.



ANTH 1100 or permission of instructor



Courses listed here must be completed either prior to or simultaneously with this course:

  • No corequisite courses


Courses listed here are equivalent to this course and cannot be taken for further credit:

  • No equivalency courses

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for ANTH 2250
Acsenda School of Management (ASM) ASM GEN 2XX (3)
Alexander College (ALEX) ALEX ANTH 2XX (3)
Athabasca University (AU) AU MUSI 3XX (3)
Camosun College (CAMO) CAMO ANTH 2XX (3)
Capilano University (CAPU) CAPU ANTH 225 (3)
College of New Caledonia (CNC) CNC ANTH 2XX (3)
College of the Rockies (COTR) COTR ANTH 2XX (3)
Columbia College (COLU) COLU ANTH 2nd (3)
Coquitlam College (COQU) COQU ANTH 2XX (3)
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU ANTH 2XXX (3)
Okanagan College (OC) OC ANTH 2XX (3)
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU CA 1XX (3)
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU ANTH 2XXX (3)
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU ANTH 2XX (3)
University Canada West (UCW) UCW ANTH 2XX (3)
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO ANTH 2nd (3)
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV ARTS 2nd (3)
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC ANTH 2XX (3)
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV ANTH 2XX (3)
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC ANTH 2XX (1.5)
Vancouver Island University (VIU) VIU ANTH 231 (3)
Yorkville University (YVU) YVU GES 2XXX (3)

Course Offerings

Summer 2023