|Appert Receives 2011 Seeger Prize||| Print ||
Published: November 23, 2011
Catherine Appert, a Ph.D. candidate in ethnomusicology at UCLA, was recently awarded the 2011 Charles Seeger Prize, which recognizes the most distinguished student paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology. She was awarded the prize for her paper "Griot MCs and Origin Myths: Negotiating Environments of Displacement in Senegalese Hip Hop," which she presented at the 2010 Annual Meeting in Los Angeles.
Appert received her Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance from Rutgers University before coming to UCLA. She recently completed ten months of dissertation fieldwork with hip hop artists in Dakar, Senegal.
Drawing on fieldwork in the U.S. and Dakar, the paper "Griot MCs and Origin Myths: Negotiating Environments of Displacement in Senegalese Hip Hop" explores how the displacement of Africans via the transatlantic slave trade and their experiences in the racialized environment of the New World inform hip hop culture in Senegal, where youth perceive their urban environment as marked by parallel experiences of social, political, and spatial displacement. It examines how succeeding voluntary migrations across the Atlantic intersect with a primary forced diaspora, arguing that these multilayered histories of displacement are brought alongside each other through performative origin myths. This paper therefore interprets local narratives of origins in Senegalese hip hop as strategic negotiations of urban postcolonial space and immigration into the racialized communities of the diaspora. In doing so, it eschews an objective genealogy of musical origins in favor of an intersectional relationship between past and present, home and diaspora. In this instance, situated study of musical origin "myths," more so perhaps than focusing on direct musical links, illuminates the ways in which human agents perceive, create, and manipulate histories.
For more information about Catherine's research go to: Hip Hop Dreams in Dakar.