I am a historian of music who specializes in American music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. My avenues of inquiry include the material culture of music and book history, amateur music-making and gender, and soundscapes of colonialism. My book, Cultivated by Hand: Amateur Musicians in the Early American Republic, brings together the history of gender, books, and labor to explore the little-known world of amateur music-making by women and men in the first generation after the American Revolution. I am currently working on a new project on Christian sacred music and settler colonialism in the eighteenth century. This project explores the territorializing role of music and sound in settler colonialism, as well as the ways in which the adoption and adaptation of Protestant hymnody by Native Americans (primarily Haudenosaunee Six Nations and Southern New England Algonquian-language group speakers). The first fruits of this research can be seen in my article on the lost music manuscript books of Joseph Johnson (a Mohegan Christian), which appeared in the Journal of the Society for American Music’s special issue on “Settler Sounds: Music, Indigeneity, and Colonialism in the Americas” (Fall 2019). My other articles have appeared in the Journal of the American Musicological Society, the Journal of the Society for American Music, the William and Mary Quarterly, Eighteenth-Century Studies, and the Journal of the Royal Musical Association (forthcoming Fall 2020), and edited collections.
I teach courses on American music, women and music, popular music, and methods for the study of music history. My graduate seminars address topics in eighteenth-century studies, such as music and revolution, sacred music and settler colonialism; and methods/materials courses on music and book history, and archive studies. My approach to teaching and scholarship is fundamentally interdisciplinary. By training and inclination, I am very much a historian; I also have a background as a performer (I studied viola at Oberlin and Juilliard, where I played mostly experimental and contemporary music). Collaboration is important to me and I am in the middle of a large-scale collaborative interdisciplinary project with historian Rhae Lynn Barnes entitled American Contact: Intercultural Encounter and the History of the Book, which entails a symposium, a volume, and a digital humanities project. A second collaborative project with Dr. Barnes is on the topic “Early American Music and the Construction of Race.”