Ellie M. Hisama

Professor of Music, Music Theory and Historical Musicology
Prof. Ellie M. Hisama
Office Address: 
609 Dodge
(212) 854-1253

Ellie M. Hisama, Professor of Music, came to Columbia in 2006, having previously taught at Brooklyn College, City University of New York, where she was Director of the Institute for Studies in American Music [now the H. Wiley Hitchcock Institute for Studies in American Music]. She has also taught at Harvard University, the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, Connecticut College, Ohio State University, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Queens College/CUNY, and the University of Virginia. At Columbia, she has served as Vice Chair of the Department of Music and Area Chair for Music Theory. She is a member of the Theory and Historical Musicology areas.  In 2014-2016, she served as Director of Graduate Studies of the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Columbia and and is a member of its Executive Committee. She is a member of the Governing Board of Columbia's Society of Fellows in the Humanities; the Policy and Planning Committee, the body elected to represent the Faculty of Arts and Sciences to the Arts and Sciences and university leadership; the Academic Review Committee, charged with overseeing the periodic review of all departments, centers, and institutes in the Arts and Sciences; and the Collections Subcommittee of the Provost's Advisory Committee on the Libraries. 

Author of Gendering Musical Modernism: The Music of Ruth Crawford, Marion Bauer, and Miriam Gideon (2001) and co-editor of Critical Minded: New Approaches to Hip Hop Studies (2005) and Ruth Crawford Seeger’s Worlds: Innovation and Tradition in Twentieth-Century American Music (2007), she specializes in twentieth- and twenty-first-century music, post-tonal theory, American music, popular music, gender and feminist studies, critical studies of music and race, and the social and political roles of music. Her work has been published in the journals Daedalus, Popular Music, Music Theory Online, Music Theory Spectrum, AVANT, Journal of Musicology, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, and American Music Review; and in the edited volumes Rethinking Difference in Music Scholarship, The Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation StudiesConcert Music, Rock, and Jazz Since 1945; Audible Traces: Gender, Identity, and Music; Locating East Asia in Western Art Music; Critical Minded: New Approaches to Hip Hop Studies; and Ruth Crawford Seeger's Worlds. Her paper "On Race/Ethnicity in the Profession" appears in the colloquy Race, Ethnicity, and the Profession, published in Musicology Now, the blog of the American Musicological Society (December 2016). Her essay "Considering Race and Ethnicity in the Music Theory Classroom" will be published in the Norton Guide to Music Theory Pedagogy, ed. Rachel Lumsden and Jeff Swinkin (W. W. Norton, in press). Her review of Howard Pollack's book on the composer Marc Blitzstein appears in the Fall 2016 issue of the Journal of the American Musicological society. 

In 2016-17, she will present papers at Skidmore College, Case Western Reserve University, Cornell University, Indiana University, and the International Musicological Society at its meeting in Tokyo.  She has presented papers at meetings of the Society for Music Theory, American Musicological Society, Society for Ethnomusicology, Society for American Music, Feminist Theory and Music, International Society for the Study of Popular Music, Modernist Studies Association, and National Women's Studies Association. She has given invited talks at a number of institutions, including the University of California at Berkeley, Stanford University, Duke University, the Eastman School of Music, Cornell University, the University of Michigan, Waseda University, Tokyo Geijutso Daigaku [Tokyo University of the Arts], the University of British Columbia, the University of Alberta, the University of Washington, McGill University, Stony Brook University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Virginia, the CUNY Graduate Center, and Wesleyan University. She was named the 2016 speaker in the Judy Tsou ’75 Music Scholars Series at Skidmore College. During her residency in October 2016, she visited classes, met with students and faculty, and gave a public lecture titled "Passages: Modernism and Tradition in Transnational American Musics." In 2015 she delivered a keynote address titled “Blackness in a White Void’: Music in the Films of Isaac Julien” at the 2015 Music Graduate Students’ Symposium at the Schulich School of Music, McGill University and a colloquium titled “Isaac Julien’s Sonic Imaginary” at Stony Brook University, Department of Music. She was the invited speaker for the 2015 Hartt Music Theory Forum, The Hartt School, University of Hartford, where she gave a talk titled "A Complex Dissonant Veil of Sound: Ruth Crawford’s Chants for Women’s Chorus (1930)."

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; a Publication Subvention Grant from the Society for Music Theory; an R. F. Johnson Faculty Development Fund Award, Connecticut College; an Elizabeth D. Gee Award for Research on Women, Department of Women’s Studies, Ohio State University; a University Seed Grant, Ohio State University; an Overseas Matching Travel Grant, Ohio State University, and a Scholar Incentive Award, Brooklyn College. She held a Research Associateship at the Five College Women's Studies Research Center at Mount Holyoke College and a Tsunoda Senior Fellowship at Waseda University (Tokyo).  She was awarded a grant from the Diversity Projects Development Fund, City University of New York, to support publication of the edited volume Critical Minded: New Approaches to Hip Hop Studies, and received an inaugural curriculum development grant from the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality, with support from the Heyman Center for the Humanities, for a 3000-level course ("Feminist Listening: Critical and Intersectional Approaches to Popular Music") to be offered in Spring 2017.

She has served on the Publication Awards Committee of the Society for Music Theory (2013, 2014) and is a member of the Honors and Awards Committee of the Society for American Music (2014-17), which she chaired in 2016-17. She current serves on the H. Colin Slim Award Committee of the American Musicological Society (2015-17), and will chair the committee in 2017. She is past Editor in Chief of the peer-reviewed journal Women and Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture, and is an Associate Editor of Perspectives of New Music. She serves on the advisory board of Tracking Pop, a popular music book series published by the University of Michigan Press, and the advisory board of the Journal of Popular Music Studies; she has served on the editorial board of Echo: a music-centered journal and is a member of the Advisory Board of the H. Wiley Hitchcock Institute for Studies in American Music. 

She has served as an evaluator for fellowships offered by the National Endowment for the Humanities, American Council of Learned Societies, the Fulbright Foundation, and the American Musicological Society (the Alvin H. Johnson AMS 50), and as a nominator for the Inamori Foundation which awards the Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy. She has served as a consultant for the Smithsonian Institution, WETA (Washington, D.C.), The Estate Project for Artists with AIDS (New York, NY), and The Annie Tinker Association for Women (New York, NY).

She has edited three peer-reviewed journals: Journal of the Society for American Music (JSAM) for which she was Founding Editor; American Music; and Women and Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture. Two articles she edited for JSAM have won major awards: Christopher Reynolds's article "Porgy and Bess: 'An American Wozzeck'," published in JSAM 1/1 (February 2007), won two awards--the American Musicological Society's H. Colin Slim Award for "a musicological article of exceptional merit" by a senior scholar and the 2009 Kurt Weill Prize for "outstanding scholarship on music theater since 1900"--and Laurie Stras's article "White Face, Black Voice: Race, Gender, and Region in the Music of the Boswell Sisters," published in JSAM 1/2 (May 2007) won an ASCAP/Deems Taylor Award in the Pop Articles category.

She has served on the Society for Music Theory's Program Committee, Diversity Committee, and Committee on the Status of Women, and on the AMS's Program Committee, Publications Committee, and Council, as well as on the conference program committees of the Music Theory Society of New York State, International Association for the Study of Popular Music (U.S. branch), and Feminist Theory and Music. She has directed or co-directed several major conferences, including Women, Music, Power, a symposium held in December 2015 that celebrated the work of Suzanne G. Cusick, a Festschrift launch, a concert with the International Contemporary Ensemble, and an exhibit at the Gabe M. Wiener Music & Arts Library; Ruth Crawford Seeger: Modernity, Tradition, and the Making of American Music; Local Music/Global Connections: New York City at the Millennium; and Feminist Theory and Music 8, held in New York City in collaboration with New York University/FAS. The Ruth Crawford Seeger conference received grant support from the New York Council for the Humanities/National Endowment for the Humanities; the Edward T. Cone Foundation; the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation; the Baisley Powell Elebash Endowment; the Provost’s Office at Brooklyn College; and the Ethyle R. Wolfe Institute for the Humanities. Women, Music Power received grant support from Barnard College's Center for Research on Women and Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Columbia University's Center for Ethnomusicology, Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, Center for Science & Society, Department of Anthropology, Department of Philosophy, Fritz Reiner Fund, Heyman Center for the Humanities, Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, Institute for Research in African-American Studies, and Music Performance Program; Columbia University Libraries; New York University's Dean for Humanities, Faculty of Arts & Science; Women & Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture; the University of Nebraska Press; and the Frederick P. Rose and Sandra P. Rose Foundation.

She has taught at Harvard University as a Visiting Professor of Music and was an invited participant at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard in the seminar Postcolonial Music Studies.  In May 2017, she will participate in the workshop “Interrogating the Nation/Repositioning U.S. Music in the 21st Century,” held at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. 

Undergraduate Courses Taught:

Humanities W1123: Music Humanities
Music V3321: Music Theory III
Music V3322: Music Theory IV
Music V3310: Techniques of Twentieth-Century Music
Music V3395: Listening to Hip Hop
Music V3385: Analysis of Popular Music
Music V3030: Asian American Music

Women's Studies UN3800: Feminist Listening (Spring 2017)

Graduate Courses Taught:

Music G6333: Proseminar in Music Theory

Music G6385: Analysis of Popular Music

Music G8360: Gender/Sexuality/Music 
Music G8370: Ruth Crawford Seeger
Music G8111: Seminar in Historical Musicology: 20th Century

Music G8374: New Currents in Hip-Hop Studies 

Women's Studies G8001: Feminist Pedagogy

Degrees from Other Institutions: 
with honors
English language and literature
University of Chicago
Music theory
City University of New York
Co-awarded the Barry S. Brook Dissertation Award in Music for the best dissertation of the year
Music theory
City University of New York