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Dr. Fredara Hadley on Ethnomusicology, the Musical Legacies of HBCUs, and Shirley Graham Du Bois

Recorded on 06/09/2023
Posted in TIE Podcast

TIE Podcast · Dr. Fredara Hadley on Ethnomusicology, the Musical Legacies of HBCUs, and Shirley Graham Du Bois

In this spring semester episode, Dr. Fredara Hadley, Ethnomusicology Professor in Department of Music History at The Juilliard School, discusses her work as an ethnomusicologist with Toward Inclusive Excellence editor-in-chief Alexia Hudson-Ward. Fredara first outlines her educational path and defines ethnomusicology as the study of music as culture. She also digs into her research on the musical legacies and impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities by tracing her family’s history with HBCUs and how these institutions act as “important islands of refuge for young Black people.” Fredara explains how the majority of HBCUs emerged during the Reconstruction era in order to segregate university education; however, they have evolved into critical spaces to nurture and support young Black scholars despite threats of closure and continuous underfunding. Next, Fredara chats about the life and impact of Shirley Graham Du Bois, an important musical figure, political force, and world traveler. Married to sociologist W. E. B. Du Bois, she was a key playwright and composer who expanded scholarship in African diaspora studies. Highlighting her work in Ghana as a diplomat and director of Ghana’s first television network, Alexia and Fredara spotlight her fascinating life and theorize why she remains a hidden figure. Last, Fredara closes with her upcoming projects, including a book on HBCU musical legacies that advocates for a subfield of HBCU music studies.


About the guest:

Fredara Hadley headshot

Fredara Mareva Hadley, Ph.D.
Ethnomusicology Professor, Department of Music History
The Juilliard School

Fredara Mareva Hadley, Ph.D. is an ethnomusicology professor in the Department of Music History at The Juilliard School. Her core research considers how people of African descent use music genres to construct and maintain community. A native of West Palm Beach, Florida, she teaches courses on ethnomusicology and African American music. She earned an undergraduate degree from Florida A&M University; a Master of Arts in African American Studies from Clark-Atlanta University; and a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from Indiana University. Hadley has been published in the Journal of Popular Music Studies, ICTM Yearbook, Billboard Magazine, and other outlets. She has presented at meetings for the Society for Ethnomusicology, Society for American Music, International Council for Traditional Music – Study Groups on African Music, and the Association for the Study of African American life and History. Her newest project focuses on Shirley Graham DuBois, one of the earliest Black women musicologists and opera composers.

Episode theme music: Black is the Night by Jeris (c) copyright 2014 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial (3.0) license. Ft: DJ Vadim (djvadim), NiGiD


Watch the full video recording of the interview here:


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