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Political Science/Music- PS 101/MU 227: Great Ideas in Politics and Music

Block 1 - PS101: What is Politics?, Tom Cronin

Block 2 - MU227: Topics in Music: Music and Society, Tania Cronin

This two-block course fulfills the Critical Perspectives: The West in Time requirement.

Antigone, Beethoven, President Obama and Woody GuthrieBlock I is an introduction to the great ideas and debates of Western political thought from Plato and Thucydides to Machiavelli, John Locke, and Martin Luther King. What is power? What is justice? What is leadership? What is democracy? What is politics? Students will read several plays and original texts, view a few films, and discuss and debate competing theories of how people govern and are governed. PS101 is a writing and discussion-intensive seminar. Week 3 of Block I will include four days at Colorado College's Baca campus in the Sangre de Cristo mountains.

Block II is an introduction to great masterpieces of classical music from Bach and Beethoven to Steve Reich and Philip Glass. MU227 does not require any background in music. Students will read and discuss a variety of theories about the political and cultural values expressed in music. How does music reflect the power structures of society? How does music create desire? How are the values of the Enlightenment or of totalitarianism or of democracy reflected in music? By the end of the block, students should have a deeper appreciation of selected masterpieces of classical music as well as insight into the ways music and society are connected. MU227 is a writing and listening-intensive course.

A set of linked one-block courses that must be taken together with one instructor for each block; a separate grade will be assigned for each block.


  • This course serves, in a general way, as a gateway to both the Political Science and the Music major.
  • Class meets from 12:30-3:15 PM during Block 1.
  • No prior background in Music or Political Science required.
  • Class will travel to Baca in the third week of Block 1.