Ellie M. Hisama

Professor of Music, Music Theory and Historical Musicology
Theory Area Chair, 2018-19
Office Address: 
609 Dodge
(212) 854-1253

Ellie M. Hisama, Professor of Music and Theory Area Chair, is a member of the Theory and Historical Musicology areas and has served as Vice Chair of the Department of Music. Hisama's research focuses on twentieth- and twenty-first-century music, post-tonal theory, American music, African American music, Asian American music, popular music, critical studies of music, race, ethnicity, and the social and political dimensions of music.  Her current projects include a study of contralto Marian Anderson’s performances of spirituals arranged by African American composers and Anderson's cultural activism. 

She was named the 2019 Kenneth Peacock Lecturer at the University of Toronto, the keynote speaker for the 2019 UT-Austin Graduate Music Conference: Music of the Americas, the 2017 Robert Samels Visiting Scholar at Indiana University, and the 2016 speaker in the Judy Tsou ’75 Music Scholars Series at Skidmore College. She was an invited participant in the 2018 Feminist Research Seminar "Writing Blackness into Music Historiography" at University of Michigan’s Institute for Research on Women & Gender and an invited presenter at the 2017 workshop "Interrogating the Nation/Repositioning U.S. Music in the 21st Century" at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. She has received major research fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation/Andrew Mellon Foundation and the Ethyle R. Wolfe Institute for the Humanities and held a Tsunoda Senior Fellowship at Waseda University (Tokyo).

She is Founding Director of the workshop For the Daughters of Harlem: Working in Sound, a multi-year initiative that brings students from local public schools to campus to create, record, and reflect upon their work in sound. She has edited three peer-reviewed journals and has directed or co-directed many major conferences, including Women, Music, Power and a centennial festival celebrating Ruth Crawford Seeger. With Ana Paulina Lee, she organized a residency by choreographer/dancer Lenora Lee  and filmmaker/musician Tatsu Aoki which included the New York premiere of their film LIGHT and a talkback with David Henry Hwang and Karen Shimakawa.  In 2018, she secured the archive of the conductor and scholar Maurice Peress  for Columbia's Rare Book and Manuscript Library. To assist Columbia’s efforts to achieve greater equity for faculty, in 2017-18 she chaired the Humanities Equity Committee of the Policy and Planning Committee and served as primary author of the Humanities section of the Equity report. She is a member of the Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity’s Faculty Working Group at Columbia.

She came to Columbia in 2006, having previously served as Director of the Institute for Studies in American Music [now the Hitchcock Institute] at Brooklyn College. She has held faculty appointments at Brooklyn College, Connecticut College, City University of New York's Graduate Center, Harvard University, Ohio State University, the University of Massachusetts/Amherst, Queens College/CUNY, and the University of Virginia. An alumna of Phillips Exeter Academy, her classroom teaching is strongly based in Exeter’s Harkness Method of collaborative learning.

  

 

 

Daughters of Harlem Teaches Local Young Women to Record and Produce Their Own Music

Degrees from Other Institutions: 
AB
with honors
English language and literature
University of Chicago
1987
MA
Music theory
City University of New York
1992
PhD
Awarded the Barry S. Brook Dissertation Award in Music for the best dissertation of the year
Music theory
City University of New York
1996

BOOKS

Gendering Musical Modernism: The Music of Ruth Crawford, Marion Bauer, and Miriam Gideon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. 

Ruth Crawford Seeger’s Worlds: Innovation and Tradition in Twentieth-century American Music, co-edited with Ray Allen. Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2007.

Critical Minded: New Approaches to Hip Hop Studies, co-edited with Evan Rapport. Brooklyn, N.Y.: Institute for Studies in American Music, 2005.

 

EDITORSHIP OF PEER-REVIEWED JOURNALS

Editor in Chief, Women and Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture, volumes 18-20 (2013-16).   

Founding Editor, Journal of the Society for American Music, vol. 1, no. 1-4 (2007); vol. 2, nos. 1-4 (2008).  

Editor, American Music, vol. 24, nos. 2, 3, and 4 (Summer, Fall, and Winter 2006). 

 

SELECTED ARTICLES AND BOOK CHAPTERS

“Power and Equity in the Academy: Change from Within,” Current Musicology, special issue Sounding the Break: Music Studies and the Political, special issue edited by Tom Wetmore, in press (2019).

“On seeing and hearing anew: On the Theatre of a Two-Headed Calf's Drum of the Waves of Horikawa,” ASAP/Journal [The Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present], in press (2019).

Forward to section “Decolonizing Sound / Decolonizing Scholarship,” in Hearing the Political: Queer and Feminist Interventions in Popular Music Performance, ed. Susan Fast and Craig Jennex. New York: Routledge, in press (2019).

“For the Daughters of Harlem: Bridging Campus and Community Through Sound” (co-authored with Lucie Vágnerová), in U.S. Music in the 21st Century: Collaborative Perspectives, ed. Carol J. Oja and Charles Hiroshi Garrett (University of Michigan Press, forthcoming).  

“Hip Hop, Popular Culture, and Transnational Exchange,” A Cultural History of Western Music in the Modern Age, vol. 6, ed. William Cheng and Danielle Fosler-Lussier (Bloomsbury, forthcoming).

“‘A Complex Dissonant Veil of Sound’: Influence and Independence in Ruth Crawford’s Chants for Women’s Chorus (1930),” in Analytical Studies of Music by Women Composers, volume 4, ed. Laurel Parsons and Brenda Ravenscroft (Oxford University Press, forthcoming).

"A Feminist Staging of Britten's The Rape of Lucretia," Journal of the American Musicological Society 71/1 (April 2018), 237-43.

“‘Blackness in a white void’: Dissonance and Ambiguity in Isaac Julien’s Multi-Screen Film Installations,” in Rethinking Difference in Gender, Sexuality, and Popular Music: Theory and Politics of Ambiguity, ed. Gavin Lee, 168-183. New York: Routledge, 2018. 

“Considering Race and Ethnicity in the Music Theory Classroom,” in Norton Guide to Teaching Music Theory ed. Rachel Lumsden and Jeff Swinkin, 252-66.  New York: W. W. Norton, 2018.

“Improvisation in Freestyle Rap,” Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies, vol. 2, ed. Benjamin Piekut and George E. Lewis, 250-57. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016. Also published online in Oxford Research Reviews, 

http://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199892921.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780199892921-e-24?print=pdf

“‘Diving into the Earth’: Julius Eastman’s Musical Worlds,” in Rethinking Difference in Music Scholarship, ed. Olivia Bloechl, Jeffrey Kallberg, and Melanie Lowe, 260-86. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

“DJ Kuttin Kandi: Performing Feminism,” American Music Review XLIII, no. 2 (Spring 2014), http://hisam.org.

 “The Ruth Crawford Seeger Sessions," Daedalus: the Journal of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences 142/4 (Fall 2013), 51-63.

 “Comment on AVANT’s interview with John Zorn,” AVANT: pismo awangardy filozoficzno-naukowej [AVANT: The Journal of the Philosophical-Interdisciplinary Avant-Garde, Torún, Poland] III, T/2012 (January-June, 2012). Translated into Polish. http://avant.edu.pl/en/t2012-2.

“From L’Étranger to ‘Killing an Arab’: Representing the Other in a Cure Song,” in Expression in Pop-Rock Music: A Collection of Critical and Analytical Essays, ed. Walter Everett, 59-74. New York: Garland Press, 2000; 2nd edition published by Routledge, 2007.

Introduction (co-authored with Ray Allen) to Ruth Crawford Seeger’s Worlds: Innovation and Tradition in Twentieth-century American Music, edited by Ray Allen and Ellie M. Hisama, 1-10. Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2007.

“In Pursuit of a Proletarian Music: Ruth Crawford’s ‘Sacco, Vanzetti’,” in Ruth Crawford Seeger’s Worlds: Innovation and Tradition in Twentieth-century American Music, edited by Ray Allen and Ellie M. Hisama, 73-93. Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2007.

“‘We’re All Asian Really’: Hip Hop’s Afro-Asian Crossings,” in Critical Minded: New Approaches to Hip Hop Studies, edited by Ellie M. Hisama and Evan Rapport, 1-21. Brooklyn, N.Y.: Institute for Studies in American Music, 2005.

“John Zorn and the Postmodern Condition,” in Locating East Asia in Western Art Music, ed. Yayoi Uno Everett and Frederick Lau, 72-84. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2004.

“Feminist Music Theory Into the Millennium: A Personal History,” in Feminisms at a Millennium, ed. Carolyn Allen and Judith A. Howard, 276-80. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001. Reprinted from special millennial issue of Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 25/4 (Summer 2000).

“Improvising Women,” in <<your own voice>>: Ein Kaleidoskop von improvisierte Musik (book celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the Werkstatt für Improvisierte Musik, Zürich), ed. Jean-Pierre Reinle, 159-65. Zürich: Chronos Verlag, 2001.

“Life Outside the Canon? A Walk on the Wild Side,” Music Theory Online 6.3 (2000), http://www.mtosmt.org/issues/mto.00.6.3/mto.00.6.3.hisama.html

“Postcolonialism on the Make: The Music of John Mellencamp, David Bowie, and John Zorn,” in Reading Pop: Approaches to Textual Analysis in Popular Music, ed. Richard Middleton. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000, 329-46. Reprinted from Popular Music 12/2, May 1993. https://www.jstor.org/stable/931292?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents

“Voice, Race, and Sexuality in the Music of Joan Armatrading,” in Audible Traces: Gender, Identity, and Music, ed. Elaine Barkin and Lydia Hamessley, 115-32. Zürich: Carciofoli Verlagshaus, 1999.

“The Question of Climax in Ruth Crawford’s String Quartet, Mvt. 3,” in Concert Music, Rock, and Jazz Since 1945: Essays and Analytical Studies, ed. Elizabeth West Marvin and Richard Hermann. Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 1995, 285-312.

 

BOOK REVIEWS

Review of Marc Blitzstein: His Life, His Work, His World by Howard Pollack (Oxford University Press, 2012), Journal of the American Musicological Society, vol. 69, no. 3 (Fall 2016), 833-40.

Review of Understanding Charles Seeger, Pioneer in American Musicology, ed. Bell Yung and Helen Rees (University of Illinois Press, 1999), Music Theory Spectrum 24, no. 1 (Spring 2002), 142-149. 

Review of Musicology and Difference: Gender and Sexuality in Music Scholarship, ed. Ruth A. Solie (University of California Press, 1993) and Marcia J. Citron, Gender and the Musical Canon (Cambridge University Press, 1993) in Journal of Musicology XII, no. 2 (Spring 1994), 221-234.

 

OTHER WRITINGS 

Remembrance of Randy Weston (1926-2018), Society for American Music Bulletin (in press, 2019). 

Remembering Geri Allen, 1957-2017. Editor of booklet of twenty-four tributes presented at memorial celebration of pianist/composer/improviser/teacher Geri Allen at international conference Feminist Theory and Music 14, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, July 2017.  https://projects.iq.harvard.edu/files/geri-allen-symposium/files/geri_allen_tributes_booklet_ftm_july_2017.pdf

“Race/ethnicity in the profession.” Invited colloquy on Race, Ethnicity and the Profession, Musicology Now (official blog of the American Musicological Society), 1 December 2016. http://musicologynow.ams-net.org/2016/12/colloquy-race-ethnicity-and-profession.html

“Ruth (Porter) Crawford (Seeger).” In The Grove Dictionary of American Music and Musicians, 2nd edition, vol. 2, 470-474. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.

“Feminist Scholarship as a Social Act: Remembering Adrienne Fried Block,” American Music Review XXXIX/1 (Fall 2009). http://www.brooklyn.cuny.edu/web/aca_centers_hitchcock/NewsF09.pdf

Liner notes for compact disc of Jason Kao Hwang, The Floating Box: A Story in Chinatown, New World Records 80626-2, 2005.

“Miriam Gideon,” Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary, Vol. 5, 1976-2000, ed. Susan Ware, 231-233. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2005.

Ruth Crawford Seeger: Tradition, Modernity, and the Making of American Music (conference booklet co-edited with Ray Allen). Brooklyn, N.Y.: Institute for Studies in American Music, 2001.

Liner notes for compact disc of music by Marion Bauer with pianist Virginia Eskin (Troy 465), 2001.

“Musicology: Feminist,” Reader’s Guide to Music: History, Theory, Criticism, ed. Murray Steib, 479-80. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1999. 

Liner notes for compact disc Miriam Gideon: Music for Voice and Ensemble (CRI 782), 1998.

 

TEACHING


Undergraduate Courses

Humanities W1123: Music Humanities

Music UN3310: Techniques of Twentieth-Century Music

Music UN3321: Music Theory III

Music UN3322: Music Theory IV

Music UN3385: Analysis of Popular Music

Music UN3395: Listening to Hip-Hop

Music UN3030: Asian American Music

Women's Studies UN3800: Feminist Listening 

 

Graduate Seminars

Music G6333: Proseminar in Music Theory

Music G6385: Analysis of Popular Music

Music G8111: Seminar in Historical Musicology: 20th Century [New Currents in American Music Studies]

Music G8360: Gender/Sexuality/Music: History/Theory/Criticism

Music G8370: Ruth Crawford Seeger: Modernism and Tradition in 20th-century American Music

Music G8374: New Currents in Hip-Hop Studies 

Women's Studies G8001: Feminist Pedagogy