Joan Baez

Prepare: Like a great many recording artists, Joan Baez maintains an official website, one that promotes recent music releases. Her official website is, and her "official bio" can be read at

Read: The greater part of the Joan Baez message is found in her music, not in her spoken words. However, she wrote a short essay for the Architects of Peace project. Read it at

Explore: In the 1960s, Joan Baez started a school called "The Institute for the Study of Nonviolence." An offshoot of that institute is the Resource Center for Nonviolence (RCNV), located in Santa Cruz, California. The center maintains a website at Throughout the war in Iraq, the center's homepage has maintained an up-to-the-second estimate of the economic cost of this war. Included on the center's website is a set of "nonviolence guidelines" for RCNV actions.

Write: In her Architects of Peace essay, Joan Baez writes, "Social change without music would be void of soul." What, indeed, has been the relationship between music and movements involved in social change, such as the civil rights movement or anti-war movements? Has music ever served to provide direction to these movements, or is it merely a way to propagate the movement's rhetoric? How important, ultimately, is music to social change? Write a three-to-five page critical essay exploring these questions by examining a specific piece of music in terms of how it might have contributed to the success of the movement.

Extend: Although Joan Baez often performs music written by other composers, the lyrics from all the songs she's written can be found at A great many of her songs, such as "All The Weary Mothers Of The Earth," deal with themes of peace and non-violence.

Additional Resource: One of the organizations that Joan Baez has long been associated with is the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors, which promotes both individual and collective resistance to war and to preparations for war. Their website can be found at


Reflections on Working Towards Peace