Joanna: A few weeks back, Tim and I went to the Society for American Music meeting in Boston. This society has been one of the most mentoring, supportive groups that we’ve encountered in academia. I think this comes in part both from the diversity of topics, as well as the diversity of backgrounds. It’s never been a society just for those on the traditional tenure-track. The variety of voices within the society, I believe, has made it stronger even with the shifts in American academia. But that's a topic for another time!
Tim presented on some of his Cold War music research. He talked about the weird and wacky songs from the early Cold War period about fallout shelters. The songs reflected many people’s attitudes in the late 1950s and early 1960s, that shelters made better party rooms than protective spaces from hydrogen bombs. Here’s an example of one of these songs:
At the business meeting, we were invited up to receive the Hampsong Education Fellowship in American Song for the book that we are coauthoring Atomic Tunes: The Cold War in American and British Popular Music.
We've been offered an advance contract from the good folks at Indiana University Press, who published Tim’s first book on British progressive rock band Jethro Tull.
We’re very excited about this fellowship, especially with our interest in writing for the general public, and more specifically with the work I’ve done in the past with the Voices Across Time project.
Years back, I worked on proofreading Voices Across Time lesson plans, and served as a summer student assistant for one of the NEH-sponsored conferences while working on my PhD at the University of Pittsburgh. Here I saw firsthand the power of musicology in the public sphere as a variety of speakers--musicologists, historians and performers--came in to mentor middle school and high school teachers as they learned how to use songs to teach American history in their classrooms. The vivid demonstrations and discussions shaped the way that I approach the classroom, and the way I think about audience when I'm writing. It's a joy to come full circle as we adapt materials from the book into lesson plans and other educational/public musicology resources.
Joanna & Tim
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