Rediscover the World You Know
Studying music has evolved way past deconstructing symphonies. When you turn on the radio, you hear pieces of American culture — from oldies to current Top 40 hits. The American music program exposes you to the ways in which history, politics, literature, culture, religion, and social justice all affect popular music. You’ll also discover how music influences each of these areas.
“Rock, blues, folk, and film scores — music is exactly what we think students should be studying at a liberal arts college,” says music professor Andy Flory. “We take something they already like and know, and encourage them to think critically about it. Then they take that new way of thinking and apply it to their papers and research. The results are always interesting.”
Flory has taught classes on the history of rock, jazz criticism, and the origin and legacy of Motown. He even teaches a lab, where students perform, record, mix, and master their own music. “Offering these courses is our way of sending the message, ‘We are willing to put time and effort into music that is meaningful to you,’ ” says Flory.
Learn on the Cutting Edge
Many Carleton professors combine their roles as scholar and teacher by bringing their research into the classroom. This exposes students to fresh, new ideas, and allows them to see firsthand how ongoing scholarship works.
Economics professor Faress Bhuiyan introduces students to the relatively new field of happiness economics, started by economist Richard Easterlin. “Easterlin pointed out that although the income per capita of a number of European countries doubled over two decades following the end of World War II, the average level of self-reported life satisfaction hardly changed,” says Bhuiyan. “Known as the Easterlin Paradox, this observation sparked off a plethora of empirical analyses. Some find income to be an important factor in happiness, others find it to be unimportant, and others find evidence for a ‘satiation point’ after which further income does not add to life satisfaction.”
Bhuiyan’s own research leads him to postulate that how we spend our money could impact our happiness as much as the amount of money itself. “Money spent on traveling, experiential goods, and charitable causes improves life satisfaction. But money spent on consumption goods such as houses, cars, and jewelry does not seem to matter much,” he says. “With multiple Nobel laureates like Amartya Sen, Angus Deaton, and Daniel Kahneman working on understanding happiness and the nation of Bhutan declaring the maximization of Gross National Happiness as its main objective, it is only a matter of time before we know what makes you happy.”