The Columbia University Department of Music is delighted to welcome back Dr. Ruth Opara as Assistant Professor in Ethnomusicology in the Fall of 2023. She previously was a Mellon Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in the Department from 2020–21.
Ruth Opara’s research centers on African and African diasporic music and knowledge production. Specifically, music and decolonial discourse, women in music, music and gender, and African music and transnational encounters. As a practitioner, a teacher, and a scholar, who has lived and taught on the African continent and the diaspora, Ruth successfully straddles both world’s musical cultures. With the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship and other awards, Ruth continues to research and work on her current book project, Music, Motherhood, and Transnationalism: A West African Perspective. The book focuses on a group of married women musicians to explore how they utilize music to navigate motherhood on the African continent and in the diaspora. Ruth has published peer-reviewed journal articles and has presented at many academic conferences around the world.