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Gabriel P. Solis
University of Illinois (Champaign, IL 61801-3620)
Music, Race, and Indigeneity in Australia and Papua, New Guinea

Preparation of a book-length study of musical and cultural exchanges between African diasporic and indigenous musicians in Australia and Papua New Guinea, 19th century to the present.

The Black Pacific investigates the ongoing history of musical alliances and affiliations between Indigenous artists and activists in Australia and Papua New Guinea and their counterparts in the African Diaspora. From the Australasian tour of the Fisk Jubilee Singers in the 1890s to Snoop Dogg's visit to Brisbane in 2014, music has provided a hidden transcript of modernity in the region. Never previously seen as a unified history, in this project the musical lives of such communities as the multi-ethnic crews in pearl fishing fleets in the Coral Sea in the 1900s, Aborigines extending Marcus Garvey's Pan-African philosophy in the 1930s, and Melanesians calling for West Papuan independence today resonate through linkages across time and space. Using the register of singing voices and dancing bodies, this book charts the critical ways these Indigenous–Diasporic musical intersections have contributed to the trajectory of race and Indigeneity for more than a century.

Project fields:

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2016 – 8/31/2017