New Course Offering: Geography of Guitars

Matt Foulkes

Enroll Now for Fall 2021

Listen, learn, understand concepts in this instrument’s changing world

Do you like guitars, how they sound, how they play? The rhythm and the raw, the strum and the twang? Well in geography’s new class for Fall 2021 Geography of Guitars you will hear wonderful music, but the class plunges much deeper than that: it will delve into the complexity of these instruments, using both human and physical geography to explore worlds not known to many.

For example: migration. “Huh?” You might ask. Yes, migration and cultural diffusion play great role in the origins of the modern guitar. Though these stringed instruments have ancient origins, the modern guitar evolved, in part, from ideas brought on migrants and their circulation among different cultures, transforming music.

Another example is climate change. “What?” again you might ask. Yes, climate change is affecting the woods that bring sound to these instruments, mainly due to supply shortages associated with greater protections against deforestation and species extinction. Guitars built from woods affected by floods and heat change the sounds of soulful folk, blues, country, rock ‘n roll, alternative music and more.

Other aspects to be discussed include re-localization of guitar making, changing retail landscapes of the string instrument marketplace, globalization of guitar production and so much more.

Matthew Foulkes, the professor teaching the class, says: “In today’s world, the guitar continues to evolve as it is buffeted by processes of climate change, the potential extinction of endangered species, environmental regulations, and the changing nature of industrial production and retail.”

Join the fun in this three-credit-hour class, geared for students in geography, sociology, anthropology, economics, political science, history, forestry, natural resources and business. The class meets MWF from 3-3:50 pm in Stewart Hall. GEOG 4904/7904 is open to undergrad and grad students. Hurry though: only 24 students will be enrolled.