MUS 1914W: Music in Nazi Germany & the Holocaust

3 CreditsFreshman SeminarCivic Life and EthicsWriting Intensive

Apart from an explicit message in the lyrics, title, or dedication, can music itself be political? Often, the political message comes from the interpreter, not just the composer or performer. Are composers responsible for the effect of the music, regardless of their intentions? How have those in power sought to legitimize their rule through the arts? Can the arts maintain their independence? What is the responsibility of the listener in a highly political environment? This seminar will examine the role of art and art censorship by focusing on one of history’s most brutal regimes, which was also among the greatest patrons of music. What compromises and benefits followed when a musician, conductor, or composer collaborated? Did exploiting music actually help the Nazis to build support? How should citizens of democratic societies commemorate and/or judge the choices that artists made in harsher times?

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