For her Honors thesis, Colleen Moore ’16 is combining her passions for international relations and music, investigating the impact that musicians and musical events have on political and social movements.
An international relations and political science double major and music minor, Moore notes that “through the interdisciplinary approach that I’ve learned at HWS,” she has discovered that the intersection between music, culture and politics can offer unique solutions to social strife.
“Musicians and music have the emotional and effective power to influence social movements and express political points. Preconceived ideas and stereotypes could be mitigated through sharing cultural and artistic styles,” Moore says.
Building on these ideas, she has developed her Honors project over the course of several semesters. In the spring of 2015, she began working with her adviser, Assistant Professor of Music Katherine Walker, interviewing students, professors and activists about music and social justice as part of the New York Six Think Tank: Advocating for the Arts and Humanities, which seeks to “foster an environment of understanding between the arts and humanities,” Moore says.
She continued this work in the fall, researching international human rights case studies, focusing specifically on Palestine. This spring, she is conducting fieldwork with activists on campus as she works toward accomplishing the main goal of her Honors project: to create a model for an ideal intersection between conflict and music advocacy.
Drawing equally on her HWS coursework, her research and her internship experience with CODEPINK: Women for Peace, a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement, Moore is addressing the ways musical activism and diplomacy can improve international relations and cultural understanding. Her scholarship champions the impact of musical events in effecting political change, examining the strategies of activist organizations like CODEPINK alongside musical initiatives like Live 8, Rock Against Racism and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, which brings together Arab and Israeli musicians, defying fierce political divides in the Middle East.
On campus, Moore is president of the PeaceAction@HWS, president for Colleges Against Cancer, and president of the club tennis team. She is also a part of the music ensemble. She plans to attend graduate school for peace studies and international relations, after gaining more firsthand experience working with a human rights organization.