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Ethnomusicology Graduate Student Receives Pembroke Center Grant

Francesca Inglese, an Ethnomusicology graduate student in the Music Department at Brown University, was selected to receive a Steinhaus/Zisson Pembroke Center Research Grant for her work on minstrel troupe music, embodied performance, and the negotiation of racial categories and gender ideologies in Cape Town, South Africa.

Inglese’s dissertation, "Coloured Moves and Klopse Beats: Embodying Contested Subjectivities in Cape Town, South Africa," investigates minstrel troupe music and embodied performance as a dynamic site for constituting and negotiating modes of racial subjectivity and gendered identities in post-apartheid Cape Town, South Africa. Minstrel troupes (known as kaapse klopse in Afrikaans) have been a feature of musical life in Cape Town since the mid-1800s, when white and later black American minstrels toured South Africa. Through ethnographic fieldwork and archival research, Inglese focuses on informal debates around minstrel sound and style; public performances grounded in countermemories of removal, dispersal, and marginalization; and the transmission of embodied practices in emerging youth development projects. She analyzes how these sonic and embodied practices serve as sites on which stereotypes of “colouredness” are debated and reworked, both cohering and contesting race and gender ideologies grounded in global-local histories, and remapping Cape Town’s urban geography through expressive practice. Her goal is to reveal how, through performance, musical sounds and embodied gestures become public acts that enable participants to critically revisit and revise the significance and relevance of apartheid’s racial categories and dominant gender ideologies in the new South Africa.

Inglese came to Brown as a PhD student in September 2009 after receiving her B.A. in music from Vassar College and an M.A. in ethnomusicology from the University of Toronto.