ECU anthropology professor teaches diversity through music

East Carolina University anthropology professor Dr. Luci Fernandes is using music to teach diversity in her undergraduate global understanding classes through a collaborative project between ECU students and students in partner countries.


The “Teaching Diversity through Music” project uses popular music from around the world to help students develop cultural understanding,”Fernandes said.

The students will identify, collect, analyze and share appropriate examples of popular music, then learn “the many ways in which music relates to its cultural contexts, cultural identity and individual identity,” she said.

Each student in the program selects a song to send to a partner in another country. Along with the song, participants provide details about the song’s lyrics, musical genre, memories the song may engender, dance associated with the song and the cultural roots of the music and instruments used in the piece. Students also include an explanation of why they chose the song and how it relates to them personally or how it reflects the overall culture of their country.

“Through their encounters with the musical forms of other cultures and the analysis of the lyrics, both in the original language and English translation, students learn about the cultural traditions from which the music springs and the cultural themes that it represents,” Fernandes said.

The project is funded in part through a 2011-12 mini grant of $750 from the ECU Office of Equity, Diversity and Community Relations, whose purpose is to prepare students for a multicultural society.

For additional information about the project, contact Fernandes at 252-737-1072 or