Julia Hamilton

PhD Student in Historical Musicology

Julia Hamilton is a PhD candidate in Historical Musicology. She is writing a dissertation entitled
“Political Songs in Polite Society: Singing about Africans in the Time of the British
Abolition Movement,” which is supervised by Elaine Sisman. Her dissertation asks how
the British anti-slave trade movement permeated musical culture of the late eighteenth
and early nineteenth centuries and how musical activities, in turn, could be used to
support the cause. Her focus on domestic music-making in particular highlights the role
of female amateur musicians in creating temporary, musical antislavery communities in
the home. Julia has presented her dissertation research at conferences held by the
American Musicological Society, the International Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, and
the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, among others. She has also presented at
the Society for American Music on domestic music-making and “Lost Cause” ideology in the
context of so-called “mammy songs” composed and performed by white women in the
turn-of-the-twentieth-century American south.

Julia has been appointed as a Teaching Scholar for the 2020-2021 academic year. In Fall 2020,
she will be teaching her tenth semester of Music Humanities and in Spring 2021, she will be
teaching a course of her own design, called Singing Against Slavery: Five Centuries of
Resistance. This course takes an inclusive approach to the music of the Anglo-American
antislavery movements, paying special attention to the voices of free and enslaved Black people
as well as the many women, white and Black, who opposed slavery.

Prior to coming to Columbia, Julia earned a BA in Music and English from the College of
the Holy Cross and an MA in Eighteenth-Century Studies from the University of
Southampton, which was funded by a Fulbright grant.