On the Academic Pipeline: Tenure, Pedagogy, and Coalition

Ellie M. Hisama (Columbia University)
Matthew Leslie Santana (Harvard University)


Following the Charlottesville rally and protests last August, AMS president Martha Feldman released a statement reaffirming the Society’s core values, making explicit its support of “diversity, inclusion, and tolerance as well as free inquiry and academic freedom.” Yet diversity for the AMS remains an elusive goal: the Society remains nearly 90% white; the Eileen Southern Travel Grant, which supports the attendance of underrepresented groups at the annual meeting, is currently flagged as the AMS fund “most in need of additional support”; and last spring, President Feldman found it necessary to urge “all engaged in musicology to show each other respect and support” with regard to the current job market and the “temptation to lash out in anger and frustration.”

A common expectation of diversity initiatives is that underrepresented communities must shoulder the responsibility for diversifying the field. More sustainable measures, however, should consider how the majority can advance diversity at structural and institutional levels, rather than placing the burden of progress on racially and ethnically underrepresented scholars, women, and the newer generation of student-scholars.

This seminar will explore opportunities to provide sustained support for diversity, equity, and inclusion in professional music societies and disciplines. Such conversations about race, ethnicity, and intersectionality are most effective when both underrepresented and majority members of the Society are in dialogue; the seminar aims to bridge this gap. We encourage students, postdoctoral fellows, independent scholars, and junior and senior faculty to submit proposals for papers that engage the following topics: inclusive pedagogy and scholarship, expanding the canon and curriculum, graduate study and advisement for students of color, diverse faculty hires, and tenure and promotion for underrepresented groups. By facilitating this conversation, we hope to present the repair of our “leaky” pipeline as a necessarily collaborative effort and generate strategies for sustaining these efforts.

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