What is it about?

So-called survey courses have been a persistent but contested genre in world languages, especially in regard to “the canon,” an unstable concept that has historically determined the textual choices of such surveys. This article presents a case study for redesigning the survey course genre in line with theory to diversify, decolonize, and decanonize the curriculum. It discusses a number of steps concerning the theoretical background, textual improvements, approaches to assignments, classroom atmosphere, and general pedagogy. It reflects on questions of positionality, institutional support, and workload. Focusing on music and short texts, the survey course described here questions the common practices and core values of German studies, music history, and musicology, and takes a critical stance toward privilege and power. In this context, the course counters tokenization, juxtaposes non-canonical and canonical works, and focuses on inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility work, as well as universal instructional design principles and social justice education. Thus, the survey becomes a new genre—one that still offers students the breadth of cultural production but relies on a particular set of prerequisites determined by factors such as the space, time, and accessibility of a course, as well as the identity markers of instructor and students.

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Why is it important?

It addresses concerns of equity and diversity in a survey class about cultures in the German-speaking world with a focus on music, which has not yet been addressed in the field.

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This page is a summary of: Redesigning the survey course: A focus on music, historically excluded identities, and the canon, Die Unterrichtspraxis/Teaching German, May 2024, Wiley,
DOI: 10.1111/tger.12281.
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