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Du Bois Department Welcomes Its New Chair, Stephanie Shonekan
Monday, July 23, 2018
Monday, July 23, 2018
Before joining the faculty at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Stephanie Shonekan served as Chair of the Department of Black Studies at the University of Missouri (Mizzou), Columbia, where she held a joint appointment in Black Studies and Music from 2011-2018. Prior to working at Mizzou, she taught at Columbia College Chicago for eight years.
Dr. Shonekan earned a PhD in Ethnomusicology and Folklore (with a minor in African American Studies) from Indiana University Bloomington. As a PhD candidate, she worked first as a graduate assistant and then as Assistant Director of Indiana University’s Archives of African American Music and Culture. Dr. Shonekan received her BA and MA degrees in Nigeria from the University of Jos and the University of Ibadan, respectively. She majored in English for her undergraduate degree and continued to focus on English with a concentration in Literature for her Master’s degree. Her MA research drew her into a concentrated study of African American literature and music.
During her years of teaching, Dr. Shonekan has developed and taught courses that focus on the music and culture of people of African descent, including "Introduction to World Music," "Black Women in Music," "Introduction to Ethnomusicology," “Contemporary African Literature and Music,” “Hip Hop: Global Music and Culture,” “Introduction to Soul and Country Music," "Studies in African Music," and "Race and the American Story."
Dr. Shonekan’s own intertwined Nigerian and Trinidadian heritage inspires her continued study of music and culture across the African Diaspora. Her research interests include afrobeat, hip hop, black women and life writing, as well as investigating the evolving parallels that exist in the literature and music of Africa and the African Diaspora. Her book The Life of Camilla Williams, African American Classical Singer and Opera Divawas published in 2011, and her Soul, Country and the USA: Race and Identity in American Music Culturecame out in 2015. Her next book Black Lives Matter and Music (co-edited) is forthcoming in October 2018. Shonekan has also published articles and book chapters onFela Anikulapo-Kuti, Nigerian afrobeat and hip hop, and American hip hopand country music. In 2008, Shonekan wrote and produced the award-winning short filmLioness of Lisabi, which was inspired by the life of FunmilayoRansome-Kuti, Nigerian women's activist and mother of FelaAnikulapo-Kuti.