What class? MUSC 322 Music & Social Justice

Who teaches it? Professor Annie Janeiro Randall, Ph.D., musicology

Music & Social Justice is an advanced music course that was taught for the first time with a service-learning component this past fall. The class explored music that has been created to advance the goals of social justice movements in various cultures and time periods. Students learned the material through singing, reading and analyzing the different aspects of specific movements through a musical lens. In addition, every week the students visited incarcerated juvenile girls at a local treatment facility in Danville. At the facility, the students directed workshops that include music and creative writing, allowing the detained teenagers there a chance to express themselves freely and safely.

Professor Randall chose to incorporate service-learning in her class to give the students a direct look at the incarceration crisis in this country. In addition to studying protest music that addresses criminal justice issues, her students have also explored music created by prisoners themselves. She believes that service-learning is a valuable experience and allows students a chance to examine a difficult social justice issue while making a positive impact beyond the Bucknell community.

"For many students this is their first time facing a social justice issue," said Professor Randall. "The women from the facility are all near the students' age, so the students are personally impacted by their stories. It allows them to connect and understand the incarceration crisis on a deeper level." Professor Randall has noticed that students enjoy the unconventionality of this course and thinks it has pushed them to become more engaged with the material and perform outside of their comfort level.

Music & Social Justice student Maryvivian Okwara spoke very passionately about her experience as part of this class. Through this course, Maryvivian learned what activism means and how it is present in her everyday life. She feels that it has been an extremely meaningful experience because she knows she's made a positive impact in someone's life. "I saw a change in the way the women from the facility interacted with us and the class as time went by. It was a great opportunity to experience something different and to increase my awareness about the difficulties that others go through which are so unlike my own," she said.

Picture of the Music & Social Justice students, Fall 2015

From left to right: Mary Olakuan, Maryvivian Okwara, Sonam Dokar, Ella Tazuana Johnson, Alice Shen, Blake Andrew, Nicole Bakeman

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