Affect and Emotion in Asian Performance

Course Number:

Course Title:Affect and Emotion in Asian Performance
Course Description: How do performances move us? Discussions of music, sound, emotion, and culture in Western scholarship continue to deal with the idea of a mind/body split, whether it is accepted or rejected. How might perspectives from Asian societies broaden our ideas about how music affects us? This course focuses on the socio-cultural aspects of music and emotion, and related ideas about feeling and embodied affect, in relation to music and sound. Students will read some of the classic scholarship on music and emotion in the disciplines of ethnomusicology, performance studies, and anthropology, focusing on those dealing with Asian societies.

Particular attention will be paid to the similarities and differences between conceptions of affect or emotion cross-culturally, and look at how some concepts, such as rasa, have evolved differently in societies (e.g. India and Indonesia) through centuries of music and philosophical changes, the migration of ideas, and cross-cultural exchange. Topics will include how understandings of music and emotion relate to religious and philosophical concepts; politics; ideas of modernity; nationalism; and health and healing, etc.
Learning Objectives:

  • Explain differences between various Western and Asian concepts of emotions and affect and how they relate to music and the broader world of performing arts

  • Compare perspectives on emotion and music among Asian societies, and critically relate these perspectives to ideas of “Asian world views”

  • Analyze and interpret theoretical and empirical issues relating to music and emotion in Asia in independent research projects

  • Use library and internet resources to conduct independent research

  • Outline, organize, and write a research paper

  • Design and deliver an oral presentation that communicates research outcomes