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Ethnomusicology lecture explores material culture of African-American music

The image combines two images. The image on the left is of a black female wearing a light blue blouse and resting holding a hand up to her face. The right side features a book cover titled “Musical Crossroads: Stories Behind the Objects of African American Music” by Dwandalyn R. Reece. The cover is black with white text and a collage of images on the right side, including a guitar, a microphone, and a record player. The background of the collage is a black and white image of a crowd at a concert.
Dr. Dwandalyn R. Reece

Interested in how physical objects tell the story of music? Dr. Dwandalyn R. Reece will be discussing the often-overlooked material culture of African-American music, from musical instruments to promotional toys. Her approach uses McClung Fleming’s 1974 model for artifact study, which involves identifying, evaluating, and interpreting these objects beyond their surface value.

Dr. Reece’s latest book, Musical Crossroads: Stories Behind the Objects of African American Music, serves as the basis for her talk. She explores how these objects can bring to light hidden figures and narratives in the African-American musical tradition, offering fresh interpretations and insights.

With a career spanning over 35 years in public humanities, including her current role as Associate Director for the Humanities at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, Dr. Reece brings a wealth of knowledge to this topic. Her lecture aims to deepen our understanding of music by considering its material aspects and their cultural implications. For those in Champaign-Urbana looking to expand their understanding of music’s role in society, this lecture is worth checking out.

The Bruno and Wanda Nettl Distinguished Lecture in Ethnomusicology at the University of Illinois was established in 2000 to fund annual lectures by renowned scholars in the field. Aimed at both a general academic audience and those well-versed in ethnomusicology, the series seeks to broaden understanding of the discipline and has been hosting distinguished lecturers yearly since 2001, supported by alumni donations.

Bruno and Wanda Nettl Distinguished Lecture in Ethnomusicology: Dr. Dwandalyn R. Reece
Music Building Auditorium
1114 W Nevada
F September 22, 5 p.m.

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