Ghana: West African Music, Dance, Society, and Culture

West African Music, Dance, Society, and Culture

For the fifth season, the University of Alberta offers a 9 credit (3 course) summer study abroad program entitled “West African Music, Dance, Society, and Culture”, July 4 to August 11, 2013, available for undergraduate or graduate credit. For complete program information please see

This summer program in Ghana comprises 3 components (social science, humanities, and performance) as 3 courses, all running in parallel. Temporally, the program is divided approximately into thirds: the first third at the University of Ghana Legon campus, a second devoted to study-travel throughout Ghana, and the final third to cultural immersion in a small Ewe-speaking village, in Ghana’s Volta Region, for fieldwork and intensive music/dance instruction and language (Ewe) exposure.

While centered on the performing arts, these serve as a window onto the broader culture and history of the region, so the program should be equally valuable to students majoring in subjects across the spectrum of social sciences, arts, and humanities, and beyond. No experience in music and dance areas is required to succeed, and there are no formal prerequisites of any sort. Alumni include students majoring in science, business, nursing, pharmacy, with career aspirations from international finance to peace and development to public health.

At the undergraduate level, the program is formally equivalent to three University of Alberta courses: Music 144/244 (West African Music Ensemble), Music 365 (Introduction to Ethnomusicology), and Middle Eastern and African Studies (MEAS) 300.

The program is also available for graduate credit: Music 544 (West African Music Ensemble), Music 565 (Area Studies in Ethnomusicology), MEAS 500 (Topics in Comparative Interdisciplinary Research in Middle Eastern & African Studies). The latter two courses emphasize advanced critical reading, independent research, fieldwork, and multidisciplinary analysis and writing. It is expected that students pursuing an MA in ethnomusicology will be able to use these courses to develop a corpus of research and area studies knowledge sufficient for the preparation of an MA thesis, or in order to develop a secondary area of ethnomusicological expertise.

This year the program is scheduled from July 4 to August 11, and is open to all (over 18) through the University of Alberta’s Open Studies program. Program dates have been selected so as to make the program available for school teachers.

Scholarships may be available (further information forthcoming). Credit transfers must be arranged with your local institution.

Please contact Xiao Zhang (, tel: 780 492 6215) for application details, or consult our website:

H-Net Network for African Expressive Culture


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