Religion and the History of Black Music with Professor Josef Sorett
Join Josef Sorett, Professor of Religion and African American and African Diaspora Studies at Columbia University, for this six-part series run in coordination with two Columbia Summer Session courses – Gospel Music in Modern America and Religion and the History of Hip Hop.
These events bring together scholars, musicians, media workers, and fans for a discussion of the evolving role of religion in shaping the history of Black music. Each Wednesday will be organized around a selection of songs that guests will discuss as a means for thinking about the play between religion and music during a specific moment in time.
PART I: GOSPEL MUSIC IN MODERN AMERICA
Part I focuses around the play between sacred and secular in gospel music, from the advent of modern gospel during the Great Migration era, through the rise of Contemporary Gospel Music, up through the early years of the 21st century.
Opening Conversation on Religion and Black Music with Columbia Undergrads
Wednesday, May 26, 6:00p.m.–7:00 p.m. ET
Professor Sorett introduces the series and engages three Columbia undergraduates, who also co-host a campus radio show. This conversation surveys the full span of the religion and the history of Black music, from the early years of Gospel music through Hip Hop music during the most recent decade.
- Malachi Jones, '22CC
- Colby King, '22CC
- Briana Wood, '22CC
Gospel Blues to Modern Gospel (1930s–1970s)
Wednesday, June 9, 6:00p.m.–7:00 p.m. ET
Featuring Juilliard Professor and Ethnomusicologist Fredara Hadley, this conversation digs deeper into the early history of Gospel music, focusing on the three decades that followed the emergence of the genre in the 1930s.
Fredara M. Hadley, Ph.D.
Professor of Ethnomusicology
The Juilliard School
Trajectories in Contemporary Gospel (1980s–present)
Wednesday, June 23, 6:00p.m.–7:00 p.m. ET
Professor Sorett focuses in on the years that follow the period typically considered to be the Gospel genre’s “golden age.” Joined by UVA Professor Claudrena Harold, historian and author of When Sunday Comes: Gospel Music in the Soul and Hip Hop Era, they discuss developments in Gospel music from the 1970s to the present.
Claudrena Harold, Ph.D.
Professor of African American and African Studies and History
Corcoran Department of History, University of Virginia
PART II: RELIGION AND THE HISTORY OF HIP HOP
Part II follows the history of Hip Hop music from the 1970s to the present, examining the range of religious ideas and practices that have animated the performance, production, reception, and consumption of rap music.
Wednesday, July 7, 6:00p.m.–7:00 p.m. ET
The first event in Part II kicks off a discussion of the various ways that religion appeared in Hip Hop music as it was first emerging, as well as the response by religious leaders to the sounds of a new genre.
Marcyliena Morgan, Ph.D.
Ernest E. Monrad Professor of the Social Sciences, Professor of African and African American Studies, and Executive Director of the HipHop Archive and Research Institute, Harvard University
Wednesday, July 21, 6:00p.m.–7:00 p.m. ET
Joined by public intellectual and Teachers College Professor Christopher Emdin, this conversation follows shifts in the religious dimensions of rap music during the 1990s and 2000s.
Christopher Emdin, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Science and Education
Teachers College, Columbia University
Wednesday, August 4, 6:00p.m.–7:00 p.m. ET
Wrapping up the series, the final conversation features a discussion of place of religion and spirituality in Hip Hop music over the last decade.