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ERIC Number: EJ794756
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jun
Pages: 31
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 98
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0362-6784
Drifters and the Dancing Mad: The Public School Music Curriculum and the Fabrication of Boundaries for Participation
Gustafson, Ruth
Curriculum Inquiry, v38 n3 p267-297 Jun 2008
Recent reforms in the general music curriculum have, for the most part, failed to lessen the attrition rates of African Americans from public school music programs. In this article I assert that an embodied ideal of cultural nobility, exemplified by Auguste Rodin's famous statue, "The Thinker", has unconsciously operated as a template for participation. As a model comportment in the Western musical tradition, "The Thinker" has a broader relevance insofar as other school subjects emerged from similar cultural ideals. Beginning with the early period of public music instruction up to the present, I examine the construction of racial boundaries by linking a specific body comportment hailed as worthy by the music curriculum to historically constructed notions of Whiteness. This issue has been underexplored in research in both music and general education. For that reason, this article examines overlapping systems of reasoning about music, comportment, class, religion, language, nationality, and race in professional and popular texts from the early 1800s to the present. This positions public music instruction as authored, not by pedagogical insight alone, but through changes in musical taste, social practices, strategies of governing populations, and definitions of worthy citizenship. There are three levels of analysis. The first is a personal account of the early manifestations of attrition of African Americans from school music programs. The second level of analysis brings the problem of equity into proximity with the tradition of genteel comportment that permeated the training of the good ear or listener and the fabrication of the bona fide citizen. These, I argue are congruent with the historical construction of Whiteness as a standard mark of worthiness. At the third level of analysis, I take up present-day curriculum designs. This section discusses how the language of the music curriculum continues to draw boundaries for participation through protocols that regulate musical response. Here, I argue that the exclusion of popular genres such as hip-hop should be rethought in light of the evidence that shifting historical definitions for music fabricated an overly restrictive template for comportment, recognizing the prototype of Whiteness as the sole embodiment of merit.
Blackwell Publishing. 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148. Tel: 800-835-6770; Tel: 781-388-8599; Fax: 781-388-8232; e-mail: customerservices@blackwellpublishing.com; Web site: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/jnl_default.asp
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A