On April 22, 2023, the Grant Hagan Society held an all-day event on ‘Antiracist Pedagogy Inside and Outside the University (Music) Classroom.’ Through panels and workshops by our guests Stefanie Acevedo (Department of Music, University of Connecticut), André de Quadros (College of Fine Arts, Boston University), and Rebecca Kirk (Boston Lyric Opera), we were able to understand the practical implications of the content and the approaches of music pedagogy and find ways to challenge them within academia and beyond.
The opening reading discussion on excerpts from Paulo Friere’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed and bell hooks’ Teaching to Trangress brought out several aims that would recur throughout the day: resisting the assimilationist model of the classroom, engaging with students and valuing their contributions, and encouraging co-intentional relationships between students and educators. Each of our guests held a workshop that dealt with a different perspective of antiracist music pedagogy.
Through activities, Rebecca Kirk demonstrated the importance of building trust and dealing positively with conflict. Stefanie Acevedo highlighted music theory’s potential to help us understand things in new ways, as well as how its language is biased in favor of problematic methods and material. Finally, André de Quadros convincingly argued for the dismantling of existing power structures in music-making, claiming that academia is built on the exclusion of the very people whose work it thrives on. The concluding panel discussion moderated by Collin Edouard, at which we were joined by attendees of the New England Conference of Music Theorists, tied all these threads together. Among the problems tackled were: defining antiracist pedagogy, working as facilitators within the constraints of an institution, defining and exposing one’s positionality vis-à-vis hidden curricula, balancing antiracist aims with career goals, and taking antiracist music education outside its traditional portals. The event concluded with a joint reception with NECMT followed by dinner at Sitar.
We are grateful to Stefanie Acevedo, André de Quadros, and Rebecca Kirk for their time, their words, and their deeds, as well as to all the attendees for their wholehearted participation. We look forward to implementing what we learned from this event, and hope we can strive towards a more equitable music education not just in our respective departments but also in the wider world we are a part of.
The Grant Hagan Society is deeply disturbed by the recent increase in violence against the Asian/American community, exemplified by the murder of eight people—6 of whom were Asian women—in Atlanta on March 16, 2021. More than a year after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. is still plagued by racism, sexism, and xenophobia against Asian/Americans, all of which are deeply embedded in the culture of this country. The GHS strives to be a space in which Asian/Americans and other people of color in the Department of Music can openly and empathetically discuss issues of racial violence and injustice, and through our future programming we will facilitate conversations on these issues.
On February 29, 2021, the GHS hosted the panel discussion, “Critical Perspectives on Diversity Committees.” Through this event, we were able to think deeply about the roles diversity committees have played in our academic societies, as well as what potentials these diversity committees could have moving forward. We were joined by two esteemed scholars with experience serving on the diversity committees of major academic music societies: Austin C. Okigbo (University of Colorado, Boulder) and M. Leslie Santana (University of California, San Diego), who have served on the diversity committees of the AMS and SMT, respectively. Unfortunately, due to extreme weather conditions in Texas at the time, Cynthia I. Gonzales (Texas State University) was unable to join us and share her perspective as former chair of the SMT’s Committee on Race and Ethnicity. GHS member and former SMT CoRE member Clifton Boyd was able to step in as needed to offer the music theorist’s perspective, with the assistance of co-moderator Aditya Chander.
Our conversation focused around four main themes: power dynamics, effectiveness, labor, and next steps. We are grateful for the honest accounts of Leslie Santana and Okigbo, who described the fatigue and exhaustion that is often associated with this sort of labor. “Diverse” scholars (scholars of color, women scholars [of color], etc.) are disproportionately asked to serve on diversity committees, and if one isn’t careful, this can get in the way of research and other professional goals while on the tenure track. What’s more, diversity committees vary greatly in terms of effectiveness, often because they aren’t tasked with addressing the problems at the heart of an institution’s diversity problems. Moving forward, the panel agreed that diversity work needs to be compensated more fairly. Additionally, we as scholars committed to this work must avoid a singular focus on our flawed institutions, and instead allow our political motivations that exist beyond these institutions to guide our actions.
We are grateful for the time that Professors Leslie Santana, Okigbo, and Gonzales were all able to commit to this event, and will use their wisdom to shape the way in which we move forward as a department toward racial justice and social justice more broadly.
In light of recent events, the Grant Hagan Society expresses its solidarity with and support of black students and scholars, both within its society’s membership and beyond. The GHS does not accept or tolerate any kind of racism towards any person of color. Our thoughts go out to the family members of the victims, as well as organizers, protestors, and communities working for justice. We hope that the GHS, with our ongoing mission to foster communities of support and open lines of communication, will participate meaningfully in this fight towards an equitable and peaceful future.
The Grant Hagan Society would like to recognize and thank Clifton Boyd and Holly Chung for their service to the society as co-chairs for the 2019-2020 academic year. In addition to the mammoth task of establishing the society, they skillfully navigated the GHS through its first activities and events.
During the 2020-2021 academic year, the co-chairs for the Grant Hagan Society will be Allison Chu and Tatiana Koike.
The Grant Hagan Society was recently awarded a Teaching and Innovation Project Grant from the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning. GHS members will be creating an online resource for diversifying music studies, focusing on the areas of undergraduate pedagogy, departmental culture, and archival research. We expect this resource to begin to be added to our website over the course of the 2020 Fall Semester, and the GHS will continue to contribute, modify, and improve this resource over the coming years.
On April 22nd, 2020, we convened an event via Zoom to talk as a department about what diversity means to us and how we can work to continue improving the diversity of our department and fields. Time was set aside first for everyone to think on their own, then to convene and discuss their thoughts. Our present faculty members (department chair Ian Quinn, DEI committee chair Gundula Kreuzer, and DGS Michael Veal) gave their thoughts from the faculty’s perspective on what initiatives the department is taking. These presentations were followed by an opportunity for students to discuss the same issues without the faculty present. Some recurring themes of discussion were the vast multiplicity of types of diversity that must be considered, reflections on how far we’ve come but how far we still have to go, and ways in which we can use our sociality and sense of department community to understand each other more closely and create the type of respectfully diverse environment that we would like to see in the wider world.
Contributed by Liam Hynes-Tawa
On February 14, 2020, the GHS hosted its inaugural event, “Navigating the (Music) Academic Job Market as a Person of Color.” We were able to invite prominent scholars of color from nearby institutions: Ellie Hisama (Columbia University), and Matthew Morrison (New York University). We were also able to collaborate with the Guest Lecture Committee to invite Alex Chávez (University of Notre Dame) to join us as well. Lastly, our very own Michael Veal participated in the day’s events.*
The event began in the morning with a panel focused on “Race, Ethnicity, and the (Music) Academic Job Market.” All of our panelists were extremely gracious as they shared with us the difficulties they’ve personally experienced during their careers, as well as what they have witnessed happen to their peers and mentees. While many difficult truths were told, ultimately the panel equipped us with knowledge about what to expect when we enter the job market, and how to preserve our mental and emotional well-being as we pursue a career in music academia. After an inspiring and invigorating paper by Chávez, “Verses and Flows: Migrant Lives and the Sounds of Crossing,” we continued in the afternoon on the subject of “How to Prepare for the (Music) Academic Job Market.” The first hour was a panel on how to be a competitive candidate, and the second hour was a workshop on how to write an effective diversity statement, led by Hisama. Participants left the event with concrete tools and resources on how to prepare materials and present your best self in an increasingly competitive job market.
To round out the day, we all gathered for dinner at the BAR pizzeria in the evening. It was great to see our panelists in a more relaxed setting, as well as to build personal and professional connections that will hopefully last for years to come.
*Unfortunately, Daphne Brooks was unable to participate due to an unforeseen personal matter.
We will be hosting our first event on Feb 14, 2020! This event will bring in prominent scholars of color from nearby universities to lead panels and workshops on how to navigate the academic job market, particularly as a person of color. The event will draw upon the expertise of leaders in the field in terms of both scholarship and advocacy for marginalized communities, including: Alex Chávez (University of Notre Dame), Ellie M. Hisama (Columbia University), Matthew D. Morrison (New York University), Michael Veal (Yale University) and Daphne A. Brooks (Yale University).
Faculty members of color can bring different perspectives to research and professional development than those already represented by our department’s faculty. We are currently working with the Department in our collective effort to hire a more diverse faculty and prepare students of color more effectively for specific challenges they may face in the field. We look forward to continuing to host similar events in the future.
Please click here to find out more.
On November 15 2019, the Grant Hagan Society met with Michael Gallope, an Associate Professor in the Department of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Minnesota, who came to give a talk at the Department of Music’s Work in Progress (WiP) series. Prof. Gallope’s work intersects richly with our society’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, and we were grateful to him for meeting with us to share his perspectives on forging paths in academia. Topics of conversation included equitable representation in academic literature, sensitive curriculum development and communication with students, and the academic job application process, including how to market your research interests and skill set to cater to a wide range of departments. We hope to continue to foster our relationship with Prof. Gallope in order to sustain the conversations and discussions that came out of this initial meeting.