Ellie M. Hisama, Professor Emerita of Music, taught at Columbia University from 2006 to 2021 as a member of the Theory and Historical Musicology areas. She became the Dean of the Faculty of Music and Professor of Music at the University of Toronto in July 2021.
Her research and teaching have addressed issues of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and the social and political dimensions of music, with a focus on the visual arts, dance, film, theatre, and public engagement. She served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality and as its Director of Graduate Studies, and taught undergraduate and graduate-level courses in Women's Studies.
She is the author of Gendering Musical Modernism: The Music of Ruth Crawford, Marion Bauer, and Miriam Gideon, which was named a Choice Outstanding Academic Title, and co-editor of the volumes Ruth Crawford Seeger’s Worlds: Innovation and Tradition in Twentieth-century American Music and Critical Minded: New Approaches to Hip Hop Studies. Hisama was the keynote speaker at A Legacy of Feminist Musicology sponsored by the Hitchcock Institute and was in residence virtually at Michigan State University as part of its Distinguished Lecturers in Music Theory series and at Utah State University's Department of Music in the Caine College of the Arts. With Zosha Di Castri, she co-directed the symposium Unsung Stories: Women at Columbia’s Computer Music Center and co-produced its podcast series. With Michael Heller, she co-directed the symposium Feed the Fire: A Symposium in Honor of Geri Allen. She organized the panel We Have to Reimagine: A Conversation on Anti-Asian Racism and Violence and directed Isaac Julien’s Looking for Langston at 30: A Screening and Roundtable in Celebration of Queer Harlem, as well as the international symposium Women, Music, Power.
Committed to mentoring undergraduate students, graduate students, and junior faculty, Hisama is an inaugural recipient of the 2020 Faculty Mentoring Award established by the Office of the Provost. She was a Provost Leadership Fellow in a university-wide program that "aims to develop leadership skills for some of Columbia’s outstanding mid-career and senior faculty." She received a Career Enhancement Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; a Tsunoda Ryusaku Senior Fellowship, Waseda University (Tokyo); and a Faculty Fellowship from the Ethyle R. Wolfe Institute for the Humanities. She and Zosha Di Castri received three grants for Unsung Stories: a Columbia University Faculty Seed Grant from the Office of the Provost (part of the university's recent initiative Addressing Racism: A Call to Action for Higher Education); a grant from the A&S Equity and Diversity events program; and a Public Outreach Grant from the Center for Science and Society.
Hisama is Founding Director of the workshop For the Daughters of Harlem: Working in Sound, a multi-year initiative with seed funding from the Collaborative to Advance Equity Through Research, which brings students from local public schools to campus to create, record, and reflect upon their work in sound. She was named the Kenneth H. Peacock Lecturer at the University of Toronto, the keynote speaker for the UT-Austin Graduate Music Conference: Music of the Americas, the Robert Samels Visiting Scholar at Indiana University, a speaker in the Judy Tsou ’75 Music Scholars Series at Skidmore College, and the Hartt Music Theory Forum speaker, and has delivered additional plenary and keynote addresses in Kanazawa, Montreal, Ann Arbor, Charlottesville, Columbus, and New York. Invited international talks in spring and summer 2020 at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt, Charles University in Prague, Zentrum für Genderforschung at Kunstuniversität Graz, and the Department of Analysis, History and Theory of Music, Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien were cancelled after the COVID-19 crisis and will be rescheduled as possible.
She has served on the Governing Board of the Society of Fellows/Heyman Center for the Humanities and as a member of the Columbia Working Group of AFRE (Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity), an organization based at Columbia and the Nelson Mandela Foundation whose mission is "to build an enduring transnational network of leaders...to challenge anti-Black racism and build the institutions, policies and narratives for a more equitable future." She chaired the Humanities Equity Committee of the Policy and Planning Committee (PPC) and served as primary author of the Humanities section of its Equity report. She chaired the Music Department's inaugural Committee on Inclusion and Diversity, served on the A&S Committee on Equity and Diversity and the A&S Graduate Equity Initiative committee, and directed Agents of Change: A Symposium in Honor of Marcellus Blount, which featured a solo performance by Lloyd Knight, Principal Dancer of the Martha Graham Dance Company.
She served as Director of the Institute for Studies in American Music [now the Hitchcock Institute] at Brooklyn College for seven years. She has taught at Brooklyn College, the City University of New York's Graduate Center, Ohio State University, the University of Massachusetts/Amherst, Queens College/CUNY, Harvard University, Connecticut College, and the University of Virginia. She has been nominated twice by Columbia College's Academic Awards Committee for the Mark Van Doren Award for Teaching. An alumna of Phillips Exeter Academy, her classroom teaching is strongly based in Exeter’s Harkness Method of collaborative learning. Her research on hip-hop and a class she designed at Columbia titled Listening to Hip-Hop were recently featured in an article on the history of hip hop at Columbia.
She serves a faculty affiliate with Project Spectrum, a graduate student-led coalition committed to increasing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in music theory, musicology, and ethnomusicology. Outside the academy, she has served as an advisor for the Smithsonian Institution, for The Annie Tinker Association for Women, established to support women in retirement; for the Estate Project for Artists with AIDS; and twice as a respondent at the Center for Jewish History's Jewish Music Forum. Her intersectional anti-racist scholarly writing has been cited internationally in publications including Slate, the Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Business Insider, New Statesman (UK), Stone Music (Italy), Dunya News (Pakistan), and the Economic Times (India). Her work on diversifying music theory is featured on the podcast Sound Expertise: Conversations with Music Scholars, hosted by Will Robin; her podcast on H. T. Burleigh's arrangement of "Deep River" was released by the University of Toronto's Centre for Ethics in spring 2021. Her projects amplifying the work of female, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ musicians have been highlighted in Columbia News, Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, and Broadway World.
Gendering Musical Modernism: The Music of Ruth Crawford, Marion Bauer, and Miriam Gideon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title.
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
Guest Editor (with Rachel Lumsden), special issue focusing on issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and acessibility in music theory, Theory and Practice, vol. 45 (forthcoming).
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
“For the Daughters of Harlem: Bridging Campus and Community Through Sound” (co-authored with Lucie Vágnerová), in Sounding Together: Collaborative Perspectives on U.S. Music in the 21st Century, ed. Carol J. Oja and Charles Hiroshi Garrett (University of Michigan Press, 2021. Article: https://www.fulcrum.org/epubs/vq27zq72w?locale=en#/6/30[Garrett_Oja-0015]!/4/2[ch06]/2[header0601]/2/2[p145]/1:0 Book (free download): https://www.fulcrum.org/concern/monographs/hm50tt73w
"Getting to Count," Music Theory Spectrum 43, no. 2 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1093/mts/mtaa033
"Geri Allen and 'The Whole Feeling of the Connection'," Jazz & Culture 3, no. 2 (Fall 2020), https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5406/jazzculture.3.issue-2
“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, named Best New Journal in Humanities by the Association of American Publishers, 2019] 4/1 (2019). https://muse.jhu.edu/article/723938
Forward to section “Decolonizing Sound” [essays by Alexa Woloshyn, Elliott Powell, and Liz Przybylski] in Popular Music and the Politics of Hope: Queer and Feminist Interventions, ed. Susan Fast and Craig Jennex. New York: Routledge, 2019. https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9781315165677
“Power and Equity in the Academy: Change from Within,” Current Musicology, special issue Sounding the Break: Music Studies and the Political 102, special issue edited by Tom Wetmore (Spring 2018). https://journals.library.columbia.edu/index.php/currentmusicology/issue/view/569
"A Feminist Staging of Britten's The Rape of Lucretia," Journal of the American Musicological Society 71/1 (April 2018), 237-43. http://jams.ucpress.edu/content/71/1/213.article-info
“‘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. http://diversity.societymusictheory.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/2020-Hisama_Considering-race-and-ethnicity.pdf
“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. https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/rethinking-difference-in-music-scholarship/diving-into-the-earth-the-musical-worlds-of-julius-eastman/F5565C1BA2E30863484126EBAFAB163C/core-reader
“DJ Kuttin Kandi: Performing Feminism,” American Music Review XLIII, no. 2 (Spring 2014), http://www.brooklyn.cuny.edu/web/academics/centers/hitchcock/publications/amr/v43-2/hisama.php
“The Ruth Crawford Seeger Sessions," Daedalus: the Journal of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences 142/4 (Fall 2013), 51-63. https://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/10.1162/DAED_a_00236
“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). https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.1086/495562
“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
“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.
“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
“'Not yet accepted as singing': Ruth Crawford’s 'To An Angel' from Chants for Women’s Chorus (1930)” in Analytical Essays on Music by Women Composers, volume 4, ed. Laurel Parsons and Brenda Ravenscroft (Oxford University Press, in press).
“Popular Culture: Musical Performance as Cultural Activism,” in A Cultural History of Western Music in the Modern Age, vol. 6, ed. William Cheng and Danielle Fosler-Lussier (Bloomsbury, in press).
“Acoustemologies of Context: A Response to Nina Eidsheim’s The Race of Sound,” Kalfou: A Journal of Comparative and Relationship Ethnic Studies (forthcoming).
"Women composers and modernism, 1920–1945" (co-authored with Samantha Ege), in The Cambridge Companion to Women Composers, ed. Matthew Head and Susan Wollenberg (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).
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. https://doi.org/10.1525/jams.2016.69.3.835
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. https://doi.org/10.1093/mts/24.1.142
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. https://www.jstor.org/stable/763989
Agents of Change: A Symposium in Honor of Marcellus Blount. Editor of program booklet including twenty-six tributes by faculty, staff, and students about Marcellus Blount, Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University; event organized with the Committee on Equity and Diversity, Arts & Sciences, Columbia University, Low Library Rotunda and Faculty Room, March 2019.
Remembrance: Randy Weston (1926-2018), The Bulletin of the Society for American Music XLV/1 (Winter 2019). https://www.american-music.org/page/BulletinWinter2019
Primary author of Division of Humanities section in the Policy and Planning Committee's Equity Reports for the Arts & Sciences at Columbia University (October 2018): https://fas.columbia.edu/home/diversity-arts-and-sciences/ppc-equity-reports
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.
Tributes from students, former students, and colleagues
Faculty Reflections (Interview/Profile), Office of the Provost, Columbia University, June 2021
AAPI Month Profile, City University of New York, Graduate Center, May 2021
Alumna profile, City University of New York, Graduate Center, March 2021
Sound Expertise: Conversations with Scholars about Music podcast with Will Robin, April 2021
The Ethics of Song podcast, Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto, April 2021
Unsung Stories - Panel on For the Daughters of Harlem: Working in Sound, April 2021 (additional Unsung Stories videos are available at the SoF/Heyman Center website)
Feed the Fire: A Cyber Symposium in Honor of Geri Allen, November 2020 (additional Feed the Fire panel videos are available at the SoF/Heyman Center website)
Nigel Telman, The Hip-Hop Project: A historical exploration into the relationship between Columbia University and the rap revolution -- Part 2: "The Birth of the New School: 2000s - 2010s: CUSH, Academics, and the Future of Hip Hop" (February 2021)
Timothy Diovanni, "Bringing West to the Western Canon" (February 2016)
Jon Edelman, "Clothes, Hos, and Plato" (May 2013)
Doctoral Advising [all PhD dissertations at Columbia University unless otherwise indicated]
Sponsor [Advisor]: Completed
Toru Momii, "Music Analysis and the Politics of Knowledge Production: Interculturality in the Music of Honjoh Hidejirō, Miyata Mayumi, and Mitski." PhD, 2021. Recipient, Junior Fellowship in Japan Studies, Weatherhead East Asian Institute, 2020-21; Recipient, SMT-40 Dissertation Fellowship from the Society for Music Theory for 2021; Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Theory, Indiana University, 2021-22. (Music theory)
Velia Ivanova, “The Musical Heritage of Incarceration: The Dissemination and Management of the Lomax Collection Prison Songs (1933-2017).” PhD, 2021. Recipient, 2020-21 Jon B. Lovelace Fellowship supporting research of the Alan Lomax Collection, American Folklife Center at the John W. Kluge Center, Library of Congress; recipient, 2019 Margery Lowens Dissertation Research Fellowship, Society for American Music. (Historical musicology)
Elliott S. Cairns, “The Berliner Phonogramm-Archiv and the Emergence of Comparative Musicology.” PhD, 2020. Junior Designer, Columbia University Press; Adjunct Professor, Montclair State University. (Historical musicology)
Marc Hannaford, “One Line, Many Views: Muhal Richard Abrams, Music Improvisation, and Affordances.” PhD, 2019. Assistant Professor of Music Theory (tenure-track), University of Michigan, Fall 2020 - . (Music theory)
Paula Harper, “Unmute This: Circulation, Sociality, and Sound in Viral Media.” PhD, 2019. Assistant Professor of Musicology (tenure-track), University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Fall 2021 -. (Historical musicology)
William Mason, “Technological Embodiment and Affective Cognition in the Electroacoustic Music of Gérard Grisey and Tristan Murail.” PhD, 2019. Assistant Professor of Music (tenure-track), Wheaton College (Mass.), Fall 2018 - . (Music theory)
Lucie Vágnerová, “Sirens/Cyborgs: Sound Technologies and the Musical Body.” PhD, 2016. Visiting Assistant Professor at New York University and Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia University, Spring 2020. (Historical musicology)
Kate Heidemann, “Hearing Women’s Voices in Popular Song: Analyzing Sound and Identity in Country and Soul.” PhD, 2014. Director of AP Music Theory Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment. (Music theory)
Beau Bothwell, “Song, State, Sawa: Music and Political Radio Between the United States and Syria.” PhD, 2013. Awarded Whiting Fellowship. Associate Professor of Music (tenured), Kalamazoo College. (Historical musicology)
Louise Chernosky, “Voices of New Music on National Public Radio: Radio Net, RadioVisions, and Maritime Rites.” PhD, 2012. Music Director, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County. (Historical musicology)
Daniel Sonenberg, "'Who in the world she might be': A Contextual and Stylistic Approach to the Early Music of Joni Mitchell." DMA in composition, City University of New York, Graduate Center, 2003. Professor of Music (tenured) and Resident Composer, University of Southern Maine. (Composition)
Sponsor: In Progress
Gabrielle E. Ferrari, "England's Singing Lad: Sexuality, Nation, and Men's Voices in English Art Song." Recipient of the 2020-2021 Core Preceptor Award for Excellence in Teaching Music Humanities; IRWGS Graduate Fellow, 2021-22; Lead Teaching Fellow, Center for Teaching and Learning, 2021-22. (Historical musicology)
Humanities W1123: Music Humanities
Women's Studies 2340: Women, Power, and Popular Music
Music UN3030: Asian American Music
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 (discussed in "The Birth of the New School" by Nigel Telman)
Women's Studies UN3800: Feminist Listening (Awarded an inaugural IRWGS Curriculum Development Grant funded by the Heyman Center for the Humanities and the Mellon Foundation)
Music G6333: Proseminar in Music Theory
Music G6385: Analysis of Popular Music
Music G8111: New Currents in American Music Studies [20th-century seminar]
Music G8111: Diving into the Earth: Julius Eastman Studies [20th-century seminar]
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