Topologies: The Popular Music Survey Course and the Posthumanities

Justin D Burton


As part of a roundtable exploration of pedagogical practices in popular music survey courses, this essay considers the possibility of structuring a survey course in a topological rather than chronological fashion. Unlike chronology, which is linear and teleological, topology loops, twists, and doubles back on itself in surprising ways. Topological engagement with popular music intersects with practices of posthuman critical theory, encouraging students to hear popular musicians collaborating and sounding together across multiple times and spaces. This essay argues that employing a topological framework at once speaks to the everyday material experiences of twenty-first century students and also seeks to fashion a more ethical, sustainable future for those students.


pedagogy; posthuman; topology; popular music; non-linear

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ISSN 2155-109X