Ruth Opara and Suzanne Thorpe Announced as Mellon Postdoctoral Teaching Fellows

The Department of Music is pleased to announce that Ruth Opara and Suzanne Thorpe have been selected as two-year Mellon Postdoctoral Teaching Fellows.

Ruth Opara—a Nigerian ethnomusicologist—is a Mellon Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in the Department of Music, Columbia University. Her research areas include traditional music in Africa and the production of knowledge; African women in music and the decolonial discourse; music and gender; African music and transnational encounters. Ruth received her Bachelor of Education in Music Education from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka; Masters from the University of Louisville, Kentucky in Pan African Studies; and Ph.D. from the University of Colorado Boulder in Musicology (Ethnomusicology). Ruth has published some peer-reviewed journal articles and has presented in many academic conferences, both local and international. She is currently working on her book Performing Motherhood: Music, Resistance, and Transnationalism Among Igbo Women in Nigeria, West Africa. She has taught in Nigeria and the USA.

Suzanne Thorpe is a Mellon Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at Columbia University. Her research is broadly concerned with contemporary sound studies, with particular attention to sound art, electronic music and listening. Through an interdisciplinary method that combines creative practice with feminist and ecological theory, she creates and studies frameworks that emphasize feminist principles of inclusion, relational knowledge and coalition building. Thorpe holds an MFA in Electronic Music & Media from Mills College, and a Ph.D. in Integrative Studies from the University of California, San Diego. She is also a Deep Listening instructor, having studied in depth with American composer and Deep Listening founder Pauline Oliveros. 

Thorpe has published her research in edited volumes and journals, and presented her work internationally, including academic conferences and lectures, visiting scholar and artistic residencies, museum, gallery exhibitions, and music venue performances (she also has a lengthy discography and gold record to her credit ... but that's another story for another day). She has been the recipient of the Frog Peak Collective Award for innovative research in technology, as well as grants from Harvestworks Digital Media Foundation, New Music USA, and the MAP Fund. Thorpe is also co-founder of TECHNE, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting young women in their ability to dismantle gender barriers in creative technology fields.

Please join us in welcoming these two distinguished scholars!