Guest Lecture: Professor Philip Ewell
“How We Got Here, Where To Now?”
The societal tipping point that is so often cited in the United States these days is intimately linked with our past as understood through the prism of race, a troubled and, at times, violent past that has infused virtually everything that we Americans do. This past is now under great scrutiny in music studies, in how we teach music to our students, how we examine music in analysis, and how we choose the music we professional musicians consider worthy of attention. In this talk, Ewell will consider our past so that we might chart a path for the future. Only through an exhaustive study of the past can we truly understand why the academic study of music is what it is today, a study that remains exclusionist with respect to musics that are not centered around both whiteness and maleness. In coming to terms with this difficult past we together—white, black, and everyone in between—can create a new academic study of music, rich and inclusive, which will be rewarding and emancipating for all.
Philip Ewell is associate professor of music theory at Hunter College of City, where he serves as director of graduate studies in the music department, and author of the blog Music Theory's White Racial Frame. His specialties include Russian music and music theory, Russian opera, modal theory, and critical-race studies. He received the 2019–2020 Presidential Award for Excellence in Creative Work at Hunter College, and he is the Susan McClary and Robert Walser Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies for 2020–2021. He is also a Virtual Scholar in Residence at the University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music for 2020–2021. As a result of his ACLS award, he is currently working on a monograph combining race and feminist studies with music and music theory.
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