Stephanie Doktor has been awarded the fall 2013 CBMR Travel-to-the-Collection Grant in support of her research project titled “Jazz and Classical Music in Jim Crow America.” In her project, Doktor will examine the race relations and racial ideologies that materialized from intersections of jazz and classical music in the early twentieth century. Many composers have fused these styles, deliberately crossing racial boundaries and blurring musical categories, yet existing scholarship encourages one to consider this music to be an exception in the repertories of only a few composers, including George Gershwin, Aaron Copland, and Duke Ellington. Doktor will examine other composers who explored the jazz/classical music boundary, including Edmund Thornton Jenkins, Harry T. Burleigh, James P. Johnson, George Antheil, John Alden Carpenter, Louis Gruenberg, and John Powell. She will also explore how race and musical training shaped the perception and consumption of this music in Jim Crow America. Doktor is a Ph.D. student in Critical and Comparative Studies at the University of Virginia, where she studies with Scott DeVeaux.
The CBMR is happy to introduce its Faculty Fellowship program and its inaugural faculty fellow, Fo Wilson! While the CBMR has developed successful fellowship programs and opportunities over the course of its history—including multiple rounds of the Rockefeller Residential Research Fellowships and the Travel-to-the-Collections grant program that continues to support important hands-on work for scholars and practitioners—this is its first fellowship designated specifically for Columbia College faculty. It is designed to support a faculty member who is currently working on or is interested in creating a project that would benefit from interaction with CBMR materials, research expertise, and other resources and to generate projects that model cross-disciplinary scholarship, teaching, and/or creative practice.
Art and Design assistant professor Fo Wilson has been named the 2013-2014 CBMR Faculty Fellow. Wilson graduated with a MFA from the Rhode Island’s School of Design’s Furniture Program in 2005 with a concentration in Art History, Theory and Criticism. Prior to her graduate studies, she founded and ran Studio W, Inc., a design consultancy with offices in New York and the San Francisco Bay area. She writes and lectures about art, craft and design to international audiences. Her furniture-based work is exhibited nationally, and her design work is included in the collection of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.
As Fellow, Wilson will continue work begun at the CBMR last summer on 100 Chairs (tentative title), a sound installation project that uses the symbology and presence of water as a way to connect communities to a shared humanity. Water can be a destructive, transformative, transcendent and redemptive force. Using environmental sounds and over one hundred samples of recorded music researched at the CBMR that reference water as a theme, Wilson will be producing a large-scale contemporary sound installation within a “praise house-like” structure that mixes sound, music and spoken-word into a media rich experience that various audiences and communities can share. Student engagement is an important element of the fellowship program and Wilson has designed a course, CBMR Research Studio, which will “create a collaborative classroom experience for a diverse cross section of Columbia students.” Participants will have the opportunity to “research, create, record and edit environmental sounds and musical samples of diasporic musical traditions like West African griot songs, African American field hollers and work songs, spirituals, blues, jazz, gospel, classical, spoken word, and hip hop.” Students might also develop other media, help build a praise house structure prototype, or participate in performances.
CBMR staff members are excited to work with Wilson on these and related activities. Her approach to research in/as creative practice epitomizes the values and concepts at the heart of this fellowship.