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Gender, Archives, and Musical Culture

Adapted from Tulane University GESS 4500

The Gulf South is a region rich in records and manuscripts upon which scholars base their work. Here, one can find inheritances of Spanish and French colonial records; Catholic registries of birth, marriages, and deaths; and a notarial culture that gave precise notices of transfers of property, wills, marriage contracts, and other declarations. How is music found in these written and visual riches? And are women and men musicians represented differently in these tangible steppingstones to the past? This course explores these questions through biographical and subject inquiries. In visits to local archives, work in these archives, class readings, and audio and visual examples, the class is introduced to particular cultures of archives, gender, and music. The chapters here give a sampling of this work.

Course PDF

Susan Tucker

Curator of Books and Records

As Curator of Books and Records, Susan Tucker oversees the Newcomb Archives and the Vorhoff Library. Her research interests concern gender, material culture, and archival studies. These interests have extended from a large-scale oral history project on domestic workers – Telling Memories Among Southern Women (LSU Press, 1988) – to exhibits, publications, and projects concerned with how people remember the past through photographs, albums, and scrapbooks. Some of this work culminated in The Scrapbook in American Life (Temple University Press, 2006) co-edited by Tucker, Katherine Ott, and Patricia Buckler. That book won the 2006 Pioneer Society Award as the best-edited book in the field of North American material culture.

Course Chapters

  • About This Chapter

    The word archives usually conjures up either a sense of old things or the accumulations of documents, more and more often,…

  • About This Chapter

    Archives, as we know them today, grew from two traditions of collecting: one was the accumulation of paper records by governmental…

  • About This Chapter

    The late nineteenth-century beginnings of the suffrage movement in Europe and the United States involved the first stirrings for a need…

  • About This Chapter

    One can place the study of women in jazz firmly in the second wave of feminism, especially in the continuing reverberations…

  • About This Chapter

    As in the trail one can follow in the story of Lovie Austin, we learn that the archival remnants of lives…

  • About This Chapter

    In 1908-1909, Brandt Van Blarcom Dixon, the first and only president of the women’s college of Tulane University (Sophie Newcomb College)…

  • About This Chapter

    Whereas most of the well-known women musicians of the city were, and are today, African Americans, the Newcomb Music School was,…

  • About This Chapter

    In the same way that white Newcomb students were being taught European traditions, so too were African American and Creoles of…

  • About This Chapter

    Another musician whose life and works helps us consider gender and the archival record is Alma Lillie Hubbard. Like Nickerson, Hubbard…

  • About This Chapter

    In 1993, the New Orleans City Council voted to rename the city’s theater for opera, dance, and musical performances to the…

  • About This Chapter

    Scholar Sherrie Tucker introduces jazz pianist Emma Barrett with her business card: SWEET EMMA Former Pianist of the Old Original Tuxedo…

  • About This Chapter

    As a nineteen-year-old, Irma Thomas recorded her first hit, “You Can Have My Husband, But Don't Mess with My Man." Shortly…

  • About This Chapter

    An indigenous sound to New Orleans, cultivated as a result of the city's unique sociocultural history, bounce music is a rather…

  • About This Chapter

    Feminist theorists of music have long argued that the discipline of musicology is inherently conservative. These scholars have pointed to the…