Race and the Musical Academy

With the academic study of music rapidly changing, this reading group will examine recent scholarship that aims to challenge the discipline’s long and disproportionate focus on a largely 18th- and 19th-century Austro-German repertoire. We will aim to reflect on our own work, as well as the role of our own institution in dismantling harmful systems, discussing strategies and finding common ground along the path of turning the academic study of music into one that is welcoming to all and allows the equitable scholarship of all music. Today’s musical academy has often resorted to a simple diversification of the repertoire that is performed and studied in order to solve its problems, but this is not enough to dismantle the oppressive frameworks that have characterized the study of music since its inception. With this in mind, we hope that participants will bring forward their own ideas for the future of the musical academy and we look forward to fostering holistic discourse around all music, and especially hearing the voices of scholars and musicians who have long been silenced.

All meetings will take place in Cone Seminar Room 226, on the second floor of Mendel Music Library

Schedule and Readings:

September 21, 4:30pm

Ewell, Philip. “Music Theory and the White Racial Frame.” Music Theory Online 26, no. 2 (2020), https://doi.org/10.30535/mto.26.2.4.

October 12, 4:30pm

Morrison, Matthew. “Race, Blacksound, and the (Re)Making of Musicological

Discourse.” Journal of the American Musicological Society 72, no. 3 (2019): 781- 823.


November 2, 4:30pm

Bohlman, Philip, and Federico Celestini. “Editorial: Musicology in an Era of Response

and Responsibility.” Acta Musicologica 90, no. 1 (2018): 1-3.


Bohlman, Philip. “Musicology as a Political Act.” The Journal of Musicology 11, no. 4

(1993): 411-436.


December 7, 4:30pm

Ewell, Philip. On Music Theory, and Making Music More Welcoming for Everyone. Ann

Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2023.