February 25, 2021 - Philip Ewell: “How We Got Here, Where To Next: Examining Assimilationism in American Music Studies”
The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music is proud to welcome Philip Ewell, Associate Professor of Music Theory at Hunter College of the City University of New York, where he serves as Director of Graduate Studies in the music department. In his talk, “How We Got Here, Where To Next: Examining Assimilationism in American Music Studies,” Ewell considers our past so that we might chart a path for the future.
"The societal tipping point that is so often cited in the United States these days is intimately linked with our past as understood through the prism of race, a troubled and, at times, violent past that has infused virtually everything that we Americans do. This past is now under great scrutiny in music studies, in how we teach music to our students, how we examine music in analysis, and how we choose the music we professional musicians consider worthy of attention. Only through an exhaustive study of the past can we truly understand why the academic study of music is what it is today, a study that remains exclusionist with respect to musics that are not centered around both whiteness and maleness. In coming to terms with this difficult past we together—white, black, and everyone in between—can create a new academic study of music, rich and inclusive, which will be rewarding and emancipating for all."
About Philip Ewell
Philip Ewell is an Associate Professor of Music Theory at Hunter College of the City University of New York, where he serves as Director of Graduate Studies in the music department. His specialties include Russian music and music theory, Russian opera, modal theory, and critical-race studies. He received the 2019–2020 “Presidential Award for Excellence in Creative Work” at Hunter College, and he is the “Susan McClary and Robert Walser Fellow” of the American Council of Learned Societies for 2020–2021. In August 2020 he received the “Graduate Center Award for Excellence in Mentoring,” which recognized his “ongoing, long-term, commitment to students at all stages of graduate research.” He is also a “Virtual Scholar in Residence” at the University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music for 2020–2021. As a result of his ACLS award, he is currently working on a monograph—to be published by the “Music and Social Justice” series at the University of Michigan Press—combining race and feminist studies with music and music theory.
About the Still Waiting Speaker Series:
"Our ancestors fought for what they expected to be a very different outcome than the one we are currently experiencing. The racial gulf has widened, and we are fighting battles that are bewildering to those of us who know the struggles of others who came before us."
The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music and its Inaugural Dean, Eileen L. Strempel are proud to launch Still Waiting, a new speaker series that invites the public to join UCLA students in conversation with prominent figures invited by the school’s Anti-Racism Action Committee (ARAC), to help us understand ourselves and our response to this deeply hurtful moment in our nation’s racial reckoning. Still Waiting invites us to demand better of our communities and better of our actions in response to the tangible effects of racist policing, academic and institutional indifference, and methodologies that may bridge the gap between feelings of alienation and feelings of sanctuary and refuge for us all.
About the ARAC:
ARAC, the Anti-Racism Action Committee of The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, is a non-hierarchical group of students, staff, and faculty members committed to changing the atmosphere of our Bruin community by addressing issues of bias, marginalization and discrimination toward black, Indigenous and people of color and other intersectional communities.