Offered through UCLA's Collegium of University Teaching Fellows program, this course focuses on historical and contemporary cases of refugee migration, with an emphasis on the musical activities of refugees. While centering on refugee music from the Middle East, the course also covers the music of Southeast Asian and Central American refugee communities in Southern California, music education in refugee camps in Guinea and Kenya, and the music of Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany.
Selected material from the Visual History Archive was used for a unit on Jewish music before and after the Holocaust. Students each chose a VHA testimony related to music and completed a close listening analysis worksheet as homework. In class, they discussed the videos in conjunction with Hannah Arendt’s “We Refugees” (1943) and Magdalena Waligórska’s research on the klezmer revival in Germany and Poland (2013). Some of the questions considered included the Holocaust survivors’ perceptions of music’s significance and the ethical implications of non-Jews playing Jewish music in Europe today.