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Jennifer A. Woodruff, Musicology

Jennifer A. Woodruff

Currently Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at Bates College

Please note: Jennifer has left the "Music" group at Duke University; some info here might not be up to date.

Contact Info:
Office Location:  Off-campus
Email Address: send me a message

Typical Courses Taught:

  • Music 20S, Dude Sounds Like a Lady: Voice and Identity Formation
Office Hours:

Weekday afternoons when I don't feel like working at home

Advance to CandidacyDuke University2005
MADuke University2005
BMus (summa cum laude)Converse College2001

Research Interests: Hip Hop, Black Popular Culture, Children and the Media, Children and Racial/Gender Identity, Gender and Feminist Theory, Politics of Sound, Politics of Listening

My research documents African-American girls’ musical practices at a Boys and Girls’ Club in Durham, NC. These girls are the audience most implicated in hip hop’s celebration of black hypermasculinity and hypersexuality, yet they are ignored by artists and media conglomerates. As girls hone their listening skills, they reconcile the contradictions between behavior glorified by hip hop and the model presented to them by their mentors. In learning how to listen girls learn how to become black women. I consider how individual interactions with mass-mediated music teach girls a black musical aesthetic that allows them to relate to their peers and mentors, and how these interactions highlight the creativity with which they begin to negotiate sexual and racial politics on the margins of society.


hip hop • dancing • girls • blackness • sexuality • morality • education • listening • Boys and Girls Clubs

Curriculum Vitae

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • Dora Ann Little Service Award, Duke University Women's Studies, March, 2008
  • Trustee Honors Scholarship, Converse College, 1997-2001
  • Finalist, Dissertation Fieldwork Grant, Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, January, 2006
  • Pi Kappa Lambda Award for Excellence in Music Scholarship, Converse College, May, 2001
  • Music Dean's Scholar, Converse College, 1997-2001
  • Presser Scholarship for Service in Music, Converse College, May, 2000
Recent Publications

  1. J.A. Woodruff, Review of "The Games Black Girls Play: Learning the Ropes from Double Dutch to Hip Hop" by Kyra Gaunt, Ethnomusicology, vol. 51 no. 2 (2007), pp. 347-49
Selected Solo Performances

  1. Solo Performances, April 22, 2006, Duke University    
Selected Performances

  1. Guys and Dolls (Sarah Brown), April 05, 2007 - April 15, 2007, Reynolds Theatre, Duke University [htm]    
Selected Chamber Music Performances

  1. Encounters with Music of Our Time, 2003, Duke University    
Selected Conferences

  1. An Aesthetic of Realness? Theorizing Feeling in African-American Girls' Singing, November 22, 2008, American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA    
  2. "'I was like...': Girls reframing hip hop identity politics through movement, gesture and melodic reference", October, 2008, Society for Ethnomusicology Annual Meeting, Middletown, CT    
  3. Girl, you nasty!: Policing the Boundaries of Inappropriate Dancing and Immoral Character, March, 2008, MACSEM, New York, NY    
  4. "Wait til the Beat Drops:" Listening Lessons Among African-American Girls in Durham, NC, October 26, 2007, Society for Ethnomusicology Annual Meeting, Columbus, OH [pdf]    
  5. “‘Have you heard, have you heard?’: Sound, Sexuality, and Missy Elliott’s Public Body, September 15, 2005, Art of Record Production, London [index.php]    
Selected Grant Support

  • Charlotte W. Newcombe Dissertation Fellowship, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.      
  • American Fellow (declined), American Assoc. of Univ. Women Educational Found..      
  • Kenan Institute for Ethics Colloquium Fellow, Kenan Institute for Ethics.      
  • Franklin Humanities Institute Dissertation Working Group, Franklin Humanities Institute.      
  • Duke Summer Fellowship, Duke University.      

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