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Spring 2017 First Year Seminar

FSEM 100-13 (CRN 6959) Salsa: Multicultural Music of the Caribbean

Have you ever been to a Latino party? Have you ever listened to salsa? Have you ever danced salsa? What do you know about salsa? This course explores the origin and history of one of the most versatile and popular musical genres of the 20th and 21st centuries. Salsa has transcended the borders of the Caribbean and the entire American continent to European and Asian latitudes because of its complex and irresistible rhythms, its attractive melodies and its sensual and romantic lyrics. What is the musical power of salsa? What is inside of this contagious rhythm that communes magically with the content of a text? How can performers improvise words and new phrases without departing from the main message? We will examine the different styles of salsa in its various forms and its vocabulary and slangs to identify musical momentums, as well as to recognize their rhythmic structures and sounds. Will you dare to play it, dance it, and sing it?

Your Professor

Jesus Alfonzo is associate professor of music in viola, chamber music and music history at Stetson University, where he also conducts the Viola Consort and leads the Viola Clinic. He is also a member of the Bach Festival Orchestra in Winter Park, Fla., and has been a member of the Rios Reyna String Quartet since 1987. He received a diploma and post-graduate diploma from Juilliard School of Music and master of music and doctorate of musical arts degrees from Michigan State University.

Alfonzo was born in Caracas, Venezuela. He is a founding member of the EL SISTEMA, The Venezuelan National System of Youth Orchestras, in which he had the opportunity to develop both his teaching and playing skills. In 1980 and 1981, he was principal violist of the Jeunesses Musicales World Orchestra. Later, he became principal violist of Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, a position he held for 16 years. In his vast orchestral experience he has worked with distinguished conductors and soloists including Claudio Abbado, Gustavo Dudamel, Leonard Bernstein, Jose Antonio Abreu, Maxim Schostakovitch,Kristoff Penderecki, Zubin Mehta, Serge Baudo, Carlos Chavez, Jerzy Semkov, Eduardo Mata, Claudio Arrau, Joseph Silverstein, Mstislav Rostropovich, PinchasZukerman, Yo-Yo Ma, Monserrat Caballe, Jean PierreRampal, Yehudi Menuhin and Henry Szeryng. He has taught in Venezuela at the Conservatorio de Musica Simon Bolivar, the Institute of Musical Studies and the ColegioEmil Friedman.

Since 1998, he has given an annual series of viola and string pedagogy master classes at EL SISTEMA in almost every state of Venezuela. In 2008, he wrote the First Catalogue for Latin American Viola Music.

FSEM 100-14 (CRN#7359) Advancing Human Rights and Social Justice: Art as Activism

This course introduces human rights and social justice theoretical frameworks and issues from global perspectives, as well as interdisciplinary opportunities to explore art as activism. Specific topics including race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, religion, ability, language and education will be examined. The course encourages reflective practice, critical thinking, collaboration and creativity through community engagement art projects focusing on the intersectionality of social justice issues. Writing as an inquiry-oriented and developmental process will be emphasized, along with oral communication with attention to applied critical thinking.

Your Professor

Rajni Shankar-Brown is an associate professor and the Jessie Ball duPont chair of social justice education. She is also the director of Graduate Education Programs, co-coordinator of the M.Ed. program and a member of the Nina B. Hollis Institute for Educational Reform. She is a passionate teacher-scholar and internationally known expert on poverty and homelessness. As a dedicated educational leader, she has facilitated workshops for thousands of educators and presented around the globe. She has published in leading journals and received numerous awards for her innovative leadership and ongoing community engagement. Prior to her work at Stetson University, Shankar-Brown served as a language arts teacher in high-poverty schools in the United States and overseas, a literacy facilitator and the middle-level education graduate program coordinator at UNC Wilmington. Shankar-Brown had the honor of receiving Stetson University’s 2014 Hand Community Impact Award and UNC Wilmington's 2013 Inclusive Excellence Award for her teaching, service and scholarship efforts towards social equity, diversity and inclusion. She is actively involved with several professional education organizations at the international, national, state and local levels. She is the founder and executive director of the Poverty and Homelessness Conference (PHC). She is also the current president of the AAUP Stetson Faculty United and the Past-President of the North Carolina Professors of Middle Level Education organization. Through her research, scholarship and service, Shankar-Brown is committed to transforming education and positively impacting the lives of marginalized students, particularly children experiencing poverty and homelessness in the United States. As a distinguished teacher-scholar and educational leader, her work is focused on transformative education, equity and social justice, culturally relevant pedagogy, diversity and inclusion, arts integration, and multi-literacies. In addition to being a teacher-scholar, Shankar-Brown is a devoted mother, accomplished multimedia artist and a dedicated social activist.