Research Profile

J. Griffith Rollefson

Biography

J. Griffith Rollefson is Established Lecturer in Popular Music Studies in the Department of Music at University College Cork, National University of Ireland -- a post which represents the first permanent lectureship in Popular Music Studies in Ireland.   Of his first book, Flip The Script: European Hip Hop and the Politics of Postcoloniality (University of Chicago Press, 2017), Paul Gilroy, writes: “detailed, innovative, and exhilarating… At last we have a critical survey that can match the complexity and power of the music”; musicologist Ellie Hisama adds: “A brilliantly textured portrait of European hip hop…  An inspiring and hopeful book”; ethnomusicologist Tom Solomon writes: “Flip the Script is highly original and ambitious, and a substantial contribution to research on hip hop and postcolonialism”; and hip hop studies pioneer Murray Forman concludes: “Simply stated, this is a powerful book with a killer flow.”    

Griff comes to UCC from the University of Cambridge, where he served as Lecturer in Popular Music in the Faculty of Music and as a Bye-Fellow of Girton College.  He is a native of San Francisco, California and, before Cambridge, taught at UC Berkeley, where he held the ACLS New Faculty Fellow Postdoc in Musicology and Ethnomusicology. At Berkeley, he also served as UC Chancellor’s Public Scholar, implementing the pilot year of a community engaged scholarship initiative titled “Hip Hop as Postcolonial Studies in the Bay Area” that brought UC students together with Bay Area high school students to study, critique, create, and perform hip hop.  He was also a Doctoral Research Fellow at the Freie Universität Berlin where he conducted fieldwork examining postcolonial protest strategies among hip hop communities in Berlin, Paris, and London.

Rollefson's work has been published in Black Music Research Journal, American Music, Popular Music and Society, Music and Letters, Twentieth-Century Music, and elsewhere, and has appeared in the edited volumes Crosscurrents: European and American Music in Interaction 1900-2000 (eds. Meyer, Oja, Rathert, Shreffler), Native Tongues: An African Hip Hop Reader (ed. Saucier), Hip Hop in Europe (eds. Nitzsche and Grünzweig), and the Oxford Handbook of Hip Hop Studies (eds. Burton and Oakes). 

His research has been supported by the British Academy, the Volkswagen Stiftung, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the American Cultures Center at UC Berkeley, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst, The Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies, and the University of Wisconsin Center for the Humanities and recognized by the EU Commission, where he was a finalist for the €1.5 million ERC starting grant (for which he is currently reapplying).

At UCC, Griff is breaking ground on new research projects, including the ERC global hip hop studies initiative, CIPHER: Hip Hop Interpellation, which employs crowd sourcing and semantic tagging techniques to examine cultural flows, a small book for Bloomsbury’s album-centered 33 1/3 series on Jay Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne that examines how the “luxury rap” album’s sonic, lyrical, and visual rhetorics alternately perform and critique the mutually reinforcing ideas of Europe, nobility, old money, artistry, and their standard bearer, whiteness, and a major monograph project entitled “The Big Pill”: Enlightenment Binaries and Black Musical Metaphysics.  This book uses George Clinton’s pronouncement: “They say: ‘the bigger the headache, the bigger the pill.’  Well, call me the big pill” as a spark to make a focused argument about the binary collapsing quantum mechanics of black music by bringing together the wide-ranging frames of disability studies, phenomenology, neuroscience, cognition, astrophysics, and Afrofuturism.  In the book—which will be my second monograph with University of Chicago Press—I examine the phenomenological “ratio-nality” of swing rhythms in relation to the three-fifths compromise; articulate voodoo balanse to Janelle Monáe’s Afrofuturist entreaty to “tip on the tightrope”; map the instrumentalization of human resources on Bad Brains’s “Soul Craft”; dig into the metaphysics of hip hop’s NOI-inflected “words as weapons” ideology; and track the development of “illness” discourses from jazz to hip hop, concluding that time is indeed “illmatic.”
 
Other ongoing research projects include an archival study of the 1874 visit of the Fisk Jubilee Singers to Wales focusing on postcolonial solidarities and the racialized idea of natural singing ability and a study of the classically inflected “third stream” music of Charles Mingus, a Mingus reader (coedited with Scott Saul), a comparative study of the curatorial ideologies of the jazz institutions Jazz at Lincoln Center and SFJAZZ, and an edited collection on the concept of “flow” in hip hop (coedited with Murray Forman and the Parisian MC, Hamé of La Rumeur fame).

At UCC he is supervising PhD dissertations, leading postgraduate courses for the MA in Musicology and Media and the MA in Performance Studies, and teaching undergraduate courses on global hip hop, jazz, blues, popular musics, 20th- and 21st-century musics, and American musics.  He teaches the first-year undergraduate module "Exploring Popular Music" the upper-division modules "Jazz History 1: Roots to Swing," "Jazz History 2: Bop to Tomorrow's Jazz," and his signature course "Planet Rap: Global Hip Hop and Postcolonial Perspectives," as well as undergrad seminars in popular music, music and race, African American music, and postcolonial cultural studies.

Rollefson received the Ph.D. in Musicology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he studied with Ronald Radano in music and Teju Olaniyan in postcolonial cultural studies.  He also holds masters degrees in Music History and Music Composition from Bowling Green State University and a bachelors in Music (honors) from Macalester College. 

His research areas include: Popular Music and Cultural Studies, African American Music, American Music, Black Atlantic Studies, Hip Hop Studies, Jazz Studies, Postcolonial Studies, Media Studies, Critical Race Theory, European Studies, and New Music Studies.

J. Griffith Rollefson, PhD
Established Lecturer in Popular Music Studies
School of Music and Theatre
Department of Music
Sunday's Well
Cork City
Ireland

E:  jg.rollefson@ucc.ie
T:  +353-(0)21-490-4521

Research Interests

I am first and foremost a scholar of African American musics and also describe myself as "a musicologist who does fieldwork."  That is, my PhD is in musicology, but my work engages ethnomusicological methods and I trained with ethnomusicologists (including Ron Radano, my doctoral adviser).  My post at UCC represents the first permanent position in popular music studies in Ireland, so in that respect, I am very much a popular music scholar and draw heavily on cultural studies and media studies approaches.  In the end, though, I suppose I aspire to the unifying label "cultural musicologist" rather than a sub-disciplined, part musicologist/ethnomusicologist/popular music scholar.

I research and write about Hip Hop (especially in Europe), Afrofuturism in Music, Jazz (Charles Mingus in particular), and try to take a postcolonial (and insistently historical) approach in all of my necessarily interdisciplinary work.

My specific subjects areas are: African American Music, Popular Music Studies, American Music, Postcolonial Cultural Studies, Black Atlantic Studies, Americanization/Globalization, Critical Race Theory, Media Studies, European Studies, Hip Hop Studies, Jazz Studies, New Music and Emergent Music Studies

Research Grants

 ProjectFunding
Body
Start DateEnd DateAward
CIPHEREnterprise Ireland€2,500.00
Irish Research Council; Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellowship 2017; Jessica Cawley; "How Irish Traditional Musicians Learn: Exploring Musical Encultruation and Culture"; GOIPD/2017/807; J Griffith RollefsonIrish Research Council01-OCT-1730-SEP-18€45,860.00
“Voicing Solidarity: A Postcolonial Reconsideration of the 1874 Visit of the Fisk Jubilee Singers to Wales”British Academy08-APR-1427-APR-14€2,700.00
Postdoctoral Research Fellow – Freie Universität, Berlin01-SEP-1331-AUG-14€50,000.00
Planet Rap, Bay Style: Hip Hop as Postcolonial Studies in the Bay Area01-JAN-1303-JUN-13€5,800.00
European Hip Hop and the Politics of Postcoloniality (ACLS)Art & Humanities Research Council01-JUL-1101-JUL-12€11,000.00

Publications

Books

 YearPublication
(2020)“The Big Pill”: Enlightenment Binaries and Black Musical Metaphysics (in preparation).
J. Griffith Rollefson (2020) “The Big Pill”: Enlightenment Binaries and Black Musical Metaphysics (in preparation). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. [Details]
(2019)Watch the Throne: Critical Excess in the New Gilded Age (under contract).
J. Griffith Rollefson (2019) Watch the Throne: Critical Excess in the New Gilded Age (under contract). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. [Details]
(2017)Flip the Script: European Hip Hop and the Politics of Postcoloniality.
J. Griffith Rollefson (2017) Flip the Script: European Hip Hop and the Politics of Postcoloniality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.   [Details]

Book Chapters

 YearPublication
(2019)'“Hip Hop Interpellation: Rethinking Autochthony and Appropriation in Irish Rap'
J. Griffith Rollefson (2019) '“Hip Hop Interpellation: Rethinking Autochthony and Appropriation in Irish Rap' In: Áine Mangaoang, John O’Flynn, and Lonán Ó Briain (eds). Made in Ireland: Studies in Popular Music (Global Popular Music Series). London: Routledge. [Details]
(2018)'Hip Hop as Martial Art: Towards a Political Economy of Violence in Rap Music'
Rollefson, J. Griffith (2018) 'Hip Hop as Martial Art: Towards a Political Economy of Violence in Rap Music' In: Justin Burton, Jason Oakes (eds). Oxford Handbook of Hip Hop Music Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Details]
(2014)'“Musical (African) Americanization in the New Europe: The Case of Aggro Berlin”'
Rollefson, J. Griffith (2014) '“Musical (African) Americanization in the New Europe: The Case of Aggro Berlin”' In: Felix Meyer, Carol J. Oja, Wolfgang Rathert, and Anne C. Shreffler (eds). Crosscurrents: American and European Music in Interaction, 1900-2000. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell Press. [Details]
(2013)'“‘Gheddos du Monde’: Sounding the Ghetto, Occupying the Nation from Berlin to Paris”'
J. Griffith Rollefson (2013) '“‘Gheddos du Monde’: Sounding the Ghetto, Occupying the Nation from Berlin to Paris”' In: Sina A. Nitzsche and Walter Grünzweig (eds). Hip-Hop in Europe: Cultural Identities and Transnational Flows. Berlin: LIT Verlag. [Details]
(2013)'“From ‘Myth-Science’ to ‘Robot Voodoo Power’: Sun Ra’s Afrofuturist and Anti-Anti-Essentialist Legacy” with French translation by Erwan Jégouzo as: “Du concept de «Myth-Science» au «Robot Voodoo Power»: L’héritage afro-futuriste et anti-anti-essentialiste de Sun Ra”'
Rollefson, J. Griffith (2013) '“From ‘Myth-Science’ to ‘Robot Voodoo Power’: Sun Ra’s Afrofuturist and Anti-Anti-Essentialist Legacy” with French translation by Erwan Jégouzo as: “Du concept de «Myth-Science» au «Robot Voodoo Power»: L’héritage afro-futuriste et anti-anti-essentialiste de Sun Ra”' In: Lili Reynaud Dewar: Interpretation. Paris: Paraguay Press / Kunsthalle Basel.   [CORA Link] [Details]
(2011)'Le Cauchemar de la France: Blackara’s Postcolonial Hip Hop Critique in the City of Light'
Rollefson, J. Griffith (2011) 'Le Cauchemar de la France: Blackara’s Postcolonial Hip Hop Critique in the City of Light' In: P. Khalil Saucier (eds). Native Tongues: An African Hip-Hop Reader. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press.   [CORA Link] [Details]

Edited Books

 YearPublication
(2021)Planet Rap: Global Hip Hop and Postcolonial Perspectives (textbook in preparation)
J. Griffith Rollefson (Ed.). (2021) Planet Rap: Global Hip Hop and Postcolonial Perspectives (textbook in preparation) New York: Cengage. [Details]

Peer Reviewed Journals

 YearPublication
(2018)'Hip Hop and/as Postcolonial Studies: Leveraging Local Knowledge in Community-Engaged Scholarship'
J. Griffith Rollefson (2018) 'Hip Hop and/as Postcolonial Studies: Leveraging Local Knowledge in Community-Engaged Scholarship'. Journal Of World Popular Music, 5 (2) [Details]
(2017)'Critiquing 'Twentieth-Century Music': A Polyvocal Ethnomusicological Response'
J. Griffith Rollefson and Laudan Nooshin (2017) 'Critiquing 'Twentieth-Century Music': A Polyvocal Ethnomusicological Response'. Twentieth-Century Music, 14 (3) [Details]
(2015)''He’s Calling His Flock Now': Black Music and Postcoloniality from Buddy Bolden’s New Orleans to Sefyu’s Paris'
J. Griffith Rollefson (2015) ''He’s Calling His Flock Now': Black Music and Postcoloniality from Buddy Bolden’s New Orleans to Sefyu’s Paris'. American Music, 33 (3) [CORA Link] [Details]
(2015)'Invited Review of: 'Das ist unsere Party': HipHop in der DDR, by Leonard Schmieding. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2013'
J. Griffith Rollefson (2015) 'Invited Review of: 'Das ist unsere Party': HipHop in der DDR, by Leonard Schmieding. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2013'. German Studies Review, [Details]
(2015)'Invited Review of: Rhymin’ and Stealin’: Musical Borrowing in Hip-Hop, by Justin A. Williams. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013'
J. Griffith Rollefson (2015) 'Invited Review of: Rhymin’ and Stealin’: Musical Borrowing in Hip-Hop, by Justin A. Williams. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013'. Music and Letters, 96 (1) [Details]
(2013)'Invited Review of: From Jim Crow to Jay-Z: Race, Rap, and the Performance of Masculinity. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2011'
J. Griffith Rollefson (2013) 'Invited Review of: From Jim Crow to Jay-Z: Race, Rap, and the Performance of Masculinity. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2011'. Notes (Journal of The Music Library Association), [Details]
(2013)'Invited Review of: Different Drummers: Rhythm and Race in the Americas. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010'
J. Griffith Rollefson (2013) 'Invited Review of: Different Drummers: Rhythm and Race in the Americas. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010'. Twentieth-Century Music, 10 (1) [Details]
(2009)'Invited Review of: 1989: Bob Dylan Didn’t Have This to Sing About, by Joshua Clover. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009'
J. Griffith Rollefson (2009) 'Invited Review of: 1989: Bob Dylan Didn’t Have This to Sing About, by Joshua Clover. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009'. Society for American Music Bulletin, [Details]
(2008)'“The ‘Robot Voodoo Power’ Thesis: Afrofuturism and Anti-Anti-Essentialism from Sun Ra to Kool Keith”'
J. Griffith Rollefson (2008) '“The ‘Robot Voodoo Power’ Thesis: Afrofuturism and Anti-Anti-Essentialism from Sun Ra to Kool Keith”'. Black Music Research Journal, 28 (1):83-109   [CORA Link] [Details]
(2007)'“Tom Zé’s Fabrication Defect and the ‘Esthetics of Plagiarism’: A Postmodern/Postcolonial ‘Cannibalist Manifesto.’”'
J. Griffith Rollefson (2007) '“Tom Zé’s Fabrication Defect and the ‘Esthetics of Plagiarism’: A Postmodern/Postcolonial ‘Cannibalist Manifesto.’”'. Popular Music and Society, 30 (4):305-327 [DOI] [CORA Link] [Details]
(2004)'“‘Is This Really Liberty, Equality, Fraternity?’: The NTM Affair, French Cultural Politics, and Americanization as Cultural Miscegenation”'
J. Griffith Rollefson (2004) '“‘Is This Really Liberty, Equality, Fraternity?’: The NTM Affair, French Cultural Politics, and Americanization as Cultural Miscegenation”'. Music Research Forum, 19 [Details]

Blog

 YearPublication
(2008)“Der Angriff” [The Attack]. Hip Hop Field Research Blog for Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) “Changing Demographics” Grant Project (Summer 2008).
J. Griffith Rollefson (2008) “Der Angriff” [The Attack]. Hip Hop Field Research Blog for Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) “Changing Demographics” Grant Project (Summer 2008). Blog [Details]

Encyclopedia Entries

 YearPublication
(2012)George Clinton.
J. Griffith Rollefson (2012) George Clinton. . Encyclopedia Entries. [Details]
(2010)“Experimental Music”.
J. Griffith Rollefson (2010) “Experimental Music”. . Encyclopedia Entries. [Details]
(2010)“Afrofuturism”.
J. Griffith Rollefson (2010) “Afrofuturism”. . Encyclopedia Entries. [Details]
(2009)Eric Dolphy.
J. Griffith Rollefson (2009) Eric Dolphy. . Encyclopedia Entries. [Details]
(2009)Tom Waits.
J. Griffith Rollefson (2009) Tom Waits. . Encyclopedia Entries. [Details]
(2009)Steview Wonder.
J. Griffith Rollefson (2009) Steview Wonder. . Encyclopedia Entries. [Details]

Professional Activities

Honours and Awards

 YearTitleAwarding Body
2014British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant British Academy
2013Volkswagen Stiftung, Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Volkswagen Stiftung/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
2012UC Chancellor’s Public Scholar Award University of California, Berkeley
2011ACLS New Faculty Fellow American Council of Learned Societies
2008DAAD Changing Demographics Award Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst
2006Berlin Program Dissertation Fellowship Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies
2005Evjue Humanities Exposed (HEX) Research Award University of Wisconsin Center for the Humanities
2005Intensive Foreign Language HEA Title VI “FLAS” Fellowship UW Center for European Studies/US Department of Education
2003Wisconsin Musicology Fellowship UW Musicology Faculty
2002Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi Phi Kappa Phi
1997Hollis L. Johnson Outstanding Music Major Award Macalester College Department of Music

Conference Contributions

 YearPublication
(2018)Oxford Sound Studies Colloquium,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2018) “'Straight Outta B.C.’: Différance,Defness, and Juice Aleem’s Precolonial Afrofuturist Critique”. [Invited Seminars/Guest Lectures], Oxford Sound Studies Colloquium, St. John's College, Oxford . [Details]
(2018)University College Dublin Musicology Colloquium,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2018) 'The Big Pill’: Enlightenment Binaries and Black Musical Metaphysics”. [Invited Seminars/Guest Lectures], University College Dublin Musicology Colloquium, UCD . [Details]
(2018)Rope-A-Dope Hip Hop Festival and Conference (AHRC) – University of Bristol,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2018) “Strangers in Paradise: Performing Hip Hop Rebellion, Embodying Postcoloniality on the Emerald Isle”. [Keynote Speaker], Rope-A-Dope Hip Hop Festival and Conference (AHRC) – University of Bristol, University of Bristol . [Details]
(2017)Arizona State University, Musicology Colloquium,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2017) “'The Big Pill’: Enlightenment Binaries and Black Musical Metaphysics”. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Arizona State University, Musicology Colloquium, Arizona State University . [Details]
(2017)Public Musicology Conference at the National Concert Hall, Dublin,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2017) “Community-Engaged Musicology: The Hip Hop as Postcolonial Studies Initiative and the Stakes of Public Scholarship”. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Public Musicology Conference at the National Concert Hall, Dublin, National Concert Hall, Dublin . [Details]
(2017)Music Composition Center Seminar Series,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2017) “‘Time is Illmatic’: Disability Studies, Non-normative flows, and Hip Hop Illness”. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Music Composition Center Seminar Series, Trinity College Dublin . [Details]
(2016)Music in Ireland: 1916 and Beyond,
Rollefson, J. Griffith (2016) “'Strangers in Paradise’: Performing Rebellion, Embodying Postcoloniality on the Emerald Isle”. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Music in Ireland: 1916 and Beyond, DIT Conservatory of Music, Dublin . [Details]
(2016)Cardiff University Bird Lecture Series,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2016) “Strangers in Paradise: Performing Hip Hop Rebellion, Embodying Postcoloniality on the Emerald Isle”. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Cardiff University Bird Lecture Series, Cardiff University . [Details]
(2016)UNESCO Learning City Lecture,
Rollefson, J. Griffith (2016) “'Strangers in Paradise’: Performing Rebellion, Embodying Postcoloniality on the Emerald Isle”. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], UNESCO Learning City Lecture, Ballyphehane District of Cork, Ireland . [Details]
(2016)The Bleak Project,
Rollefson, J. Griffith (2016) Live Interview and Performance with Hackney MC and The Guardian (UK) Contributor, Franklyn Addo. [Invited Lectures (Workshops)], The Bleak Project, SOAS, London . [Details]
(2016)Society for Musicology in Ireland,
Rollefson, J. Griffith (2016) “Hip Hop as Martial Art: Towards a Political Economy of Violence in Rap Music”. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Society for Musicology in Ireland, St. Patrick’s College, Dublin City University . [Details]
(2015)Hip Hop North/South,
Rollefson, J. Griffith (2015) “'Strangers in Paradise’: Performing Rebellion, Embodying Postcoloniality on the Emerald Isle”. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Hip Hop North/South, Helsinki, Finland . [Details]
(2015)School of Media, Film, and Music Colloquium,
Rollefson, J. Griffith (2015) “’Straight Outta B.C.’: Differance, Defness, and Juice Aleem’s Precolonial Afrofuturist Critique”. [Keynote Speaker], School of Media, Film, and Music Colloquium, University of Sussex . [Details]
(2015)Society for Musicology in Ireland,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2015) Letters from Birmingham: Differance and Defness on Juice Aleem's Jerusalaam Come. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Society for Musicology in Ireland, University College Cork . [Details]
(2015)Songs of Social Protest,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2015) Letters from Birmingham: Differance and Defness on Juice Aleem's Jerusalaam Come. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Songs of Social Protest, Univeristy of Limerick . [Details]
(2015)AMS,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2015) Got Freaky, Freaky, Freaky, Freaky Flow: Theorizing Hip Hop Illness. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], AMS, Louisville, KY . [Details]
(2015)ICTM,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2015) Straight Outta B.C.: Juice Aleem’s Afrofuturist Precolonial Critique. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], ICTM, Dundalk Institute of Technology . [Details]
(2015)Anthropology Association of Ireland,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2015) Straight Outta B.C.: Juice Aleem’s Afrofuturist Precolonial Critique. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Anthropology Association of Ireland, University College Cork . [Details]
(2015)European Conference on African Studies,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2015) Letters from Birmingham: Differance and Defness on Juice Aleem's Jerusalaam Come. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], European Conference on African Studies, Sorbonne, Paris . [Details]
(2014)Concepts in Motion: UCC Digital Arts and Humanities Conference and Workshop,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2014) Online Music Annotation Tools: Promises and Problems. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Concepts in Motion: UCC Digital Arts and Humanities Conference and Workshop, University College Cork . [Details]
(2014)International Association for the Study of Popular Music - US Branch (IASPM-US), Annual Conference,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2014) “’Got a Freaky, Freaky, Freaky, Freaky Flow’: Theorizing Hip Hop Illness” (submitted panel with Murray Forman and Dawn-Elissa Fisher). [Invited Lectures (Conference)], International Association for the Study of Popular Music - US Branch (IASPM-US), Annual Conference, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill . [Details]
(2014)Prince’s Teaching Institute,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2014) Hip Hop and the African American Archive. [Invited Seminars/Guest Lectures], Prince’s Teaching Institute, Homerton College, Cambridge . [Details]
(2014)Cambridge Festival of Ideas: “Hip Hop Psych” panel,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2014) “’Got a Freaky, Freaky, Freaky, Freaky Flow’: Theorizing Hip Hop Illness” (invited panel with Dr. Becky Inkster, neuroscience; Dr. Akeem Sule, psychiatry; and MC Juice Aleem, rapper). [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Cambridge Festival of Ideas: “Hip Hop Psych” panel, University of Cambridge . [Details]
(2014)International Association for the Study of Popular Music - UK & Ireland Biennial Conference,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2014) Chair, Popular Music and Postcoloniality Panel. [Chair Sessions at Symposia], International Association for the Study of Popular Music - UK & Ireland Biennial Conference, University College Cork . [Details]
(2014)British Forum for Ethnomusicology “Ethnomusicology and the City” Conference,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2014) “’Ghettos du Monde’: Sounding the Ghetto, Occupying the Nation from Paris to Berlin”. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], British Forum for Ethnomusicology “Ethnomusicology and the City” Conference, City University London . [Details]
(2014)University of Cambridge – Faculty of Music Colloquium Series,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2014) “Hip Hop as Postcolonial Critique in the UK: Juice Aleem’s ‘Mastery of Form’ and ‘The Deformation of Mastery”. [Invited Seminars/Guest Lectures], University of Cambridge – Faculty of Music Colloquium Series, University of Cambridge . [Details]
(2014)University of Bristol – Faculty of Music Colloquium,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2014) “Hip Hop as Postcolonial Critique in the UK: Juice Aleem’s ‘Mastery of Form’ and ‘The Deformation of Mastery”. [Invited Seminars/Guest Lectures], University of Bristol – Faculty of Music Colloquium, University of Bristol . [Details]
(2014)Cambridge Union Society,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2014) In Proposition: This House Would Teach Rap Over Shakespeare. [Oral Presentation], Cambridge Union Society, University of Cambridge . [Details]
(2014)University College Cork – Faculty of Music Colloquium,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2014) “'Got a Freaky, Freaky, Freaky, Freaky Flow’: Theorizing Hip Hop Illness”. [Invited Seminars/Guest Lectures], University College Cork – Faculty of Music Colloquium, University College Cork . [Details]
(2013)American Anthropological Association, Annual Conference,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2013) “’He’s Callin’ His Flock Now’: MC Sefyu’s Postcolonial Critique and the Sounds of Double Consciousness” (submitted panel with Jesse Shipley, Michael Birnbaum Quintero, Adriana Helbig, Gavin Steingo, and Tim Mangin). [Invited Lectures (Conference)], American Anthropological Association, Annual Conference, Chicago . [Details]
(2013)International Association for the Study of Popular Music - US Branch (IASPM-US), Annual Conference,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2013) Chair, Hip Hop Vocalities Panel. [Chair Sessions at Symposia], International Association for the Study of Popular Music - US Branch (IASPM-US), Annual Conference, Univeristy of Texas at Austin . [Details]
(2013)The Rest is Noise Festival,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2013) Superpower Weekend: Focus on American Music. Panel and Study Group: “Musical (African) Americanization and Watch the Throne (Jay-Z and Kanye West, 2011). [Invited Lectures (Workshops)], The Rest is Noise Festival, Southbank Centre, London . [Details]
(2013)Hip Hop as Social Empowerment Conference,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2013) “Ghetto Grammar: Hip Hop as Postcolonial Critique on the UK”. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Hip Hop as Social Empowerment Conference, Volkswagen Stiftung Center, Hannover, Germany . [Details]
(2012)American Anthropological Association, Annual Conference,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2012) Ethnographic Terminalia Panel “The Sounds of Gentrification from Oakland’s Temescal to D.C.’s U Street Corridor” (submitted panel with Stephen Feld and Stephanie Takaragawa). [Invited Lectures (Conference)], American Anthropological Association, Annual Conference, San Francisco . [Details]
(2012)The Globalization of African American Consumer Culture,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2012) “Le Cauchemar de la France: Blackara’s Postcolonial Hip Hop Critique in the City of Light”. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], The Globalization of African American Consumer Culture, German Historical Institute, Washington D.C . [Details]
(2012)International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM) - US Branch and Experience Music Project (EMP) Joint Annual Conference,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2012) “’Ghettos du Monde’: Sounding the Ghetto from Paris to Berlin”. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM) - US Branch and Experience Music Project (EMP) Joint Annual Conference, New York University . [Details]
(2012)AMS/SEM/SMT Joint Annual Conference,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2012) “’He’s Callin’ His Flock Now’: MC Sefyu’s Postcolonial Critique and the Sounds of Double Consciousness from New Orleans to Paris” (submitted panel with Catherine Appert and Kendra Salois). [Invited Lectures (Conference)], AMS/SEM/SMT Joint Annual Conference, New Orleans . [Details]
(2012)Society for American Music,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2012) “Performing the ‘Changing Same’ in Wynton Marsalis’s Congo Square”. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Society for American Music, Charlotte, North Carolina . [Details]
(2011)American Musicological Society Annual Conference,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2011) Popular Music Special Interest Group. [Referee], American Musicological Society Annual Conference, San Francisco . [Details]
(2011)25th Annual Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies Alumni Conference,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2011) “Heiße Waren [Hot Commodities]: Hip Hop and Race in Aggro Berlin”. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], 25th Annual Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies Alumni Conference, Freie Universität Berlin . [Details]
(2011)German Studies Association, Annual Conference,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2011) “Heiße Waren [Hot Commodities]: Hip Hop and Race in Aggro Berlin”. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], German Studies Association, Annual Conference, Louisville, Kentucky . [Details]
(2011)Watching Jazz,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2011) “Performing the ‘Changing Same’ in Wynton Marsalis’s Congo Square (DVD 2008)”. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Watching Jazz, Univeristy of Glasgow . [Details]
(2010)American Musicological Society (NorCal),
J. Griffith Rollefson (2010) “Heiße Waren [Hot Commodities]: Musical African Americanization and the Commercial Authentic in Aggro Berlin”. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], American Musicological Society (NorCal), Stanford University . [Details]
(2010)International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM),
J. Griffith Rollefson (2010) “Le Cauchemar de la France: Blackara’s Postcolonial Hip Hop Critique in the City of Light”. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM), New Orleans . [Details]
(2009)Crosscurrents: American and European Music in Interaction, 1900-2000,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2009) “Musical (African) Americanization in the New Europe: The Case of Aggro Berlin”. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Crosscurrents: American and European Music in Interaction, 1900-2000, Harvard University/Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München . [Details]
(2009)“Musical (African) Americanization in the New Europe: The Case of Aggro Berlin”,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2009) Society for American Music (SAM). [Invited Lectures (Conference)], “Musical (African) Americanization in the New Europe: The Case of Aggro Berlin”, Denver, Colorado . [Details]
(2009)“Heiße Waren [Hot Commodities]: Musical African Americanization and the Commercial Authentic in Aggro Berlin”,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2009) Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM). [Invited Lectures (Conference)], “Heiße Waren [Hot Commodities]: Musical African Americanization and the Commercial Authentic in Aggro Berlin”, Mexico City . [Details]
(2008)BMW Center for German and European Studies Conference,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2008) “Hip Hop Identities in the EU: Musical (African) Americanization”. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], BMW Center for German and European Studies Conference, Georgetown University . [Details]
(2008)International Association for the Study of Popular Music - US Branch (IASPM-US), Annual Conference,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2008) “Musical (African) Americanization: Hip Hop and Minority Identity in Berlin”. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], International Association for the Study of Popular Music - US Branch (IASPM-US), Annual Conference, University of Iowa . [Details]
(2008)International Association for the Study of Popular Music - US Branch (IASPM-US), Annual Conference,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2008) Chair, Music and Media Panel. [Chair Sessions at Symposia], International Association for the Study of Popular Music - US Branch (IASPM-US), Annual Conference, University of Iowa . [Details]
(2007)Berlin Program for Advanced European Studies Colloquium,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2007) “Hip Hop Identities in the EU: Musical (African) Americanization”. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Berlin Program for Advanced European Studies Colloquium, Freie Universität Berlin . [Details]
(2006)Midwest Graduate Music Consortium Annual Conference (Univeristy of Chicago/Northwestern University/University of Wisconsin),
J. Griffith Rollefson (2006) “The 'Robot Voodoo Power’ Thesis: Afrofuturism and Anti-Anti-Essentialism from Sun Ra to Kool Keith”. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Midwest Graduate Music Consortium Annual Conference (Univeristy of Chicago/Northwestern University/University of Wisconsin), Northwestern University . [Details]
(2005)Wisconsin Film Festival,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2005) Post-Screening Respondent to the Israeli/Palestinian Hip Hop Documentary “Channels of Rage,” (Dir. Anat Halachmi, 2003). [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Wisconsin Film Festival, University of Wisconsin Hillel . [Details]
(2005)Midwest Graduate Music Consortium Annual Conference (Univeristy of Chicago/Northwestern University/University of Wisconsin),
J. Griffith Rollefson (2005) Chair, Film Music Panel. [Chair Sessions at Symposia], Midwest Graduate Music Consortium Annual Conference (Univeristy of Chicago/Northwestern University/University of Wisconsin), University of Wisconsin-Madison . [Details]
(2004)International Association for the Study of Popular Music - US Branch (IASPM-US), Annual Conference,
J. Griffith Rollefson (2004) “Tom Zé’s Fabrication Defect and the ‘Esthetics of Plagiarism’: A Postmodern/Postcolonial Cannibalist Manifesto”. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], International Association for the Study of Popular Music - US Branch (IASPM-US), Annual Conference, University of Virginia . [Details]
(2004)Midwest Graduate Music Consortium Annual Conference (Univeristy of Chicago/Northwestern University/University of Wisconsin),
J. Griffith Rollefson (2004) “‘Is This Really Liberty, Equality, Fraternity?’ The NTM Affair, French Cultural Politics, and Americanization as Cultural Miscegenation”. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Midwest Graduate Music Consortium Annual Conference (Univeristy of Chicago/Northwestern University/University of Wisconsin), University of Chicago . [Details]
(2004)American Musicological Society (Midwest),
J. Griffith Rollefson (2004) “‘Is This Really Liberty, Equality, Fraternity?’: The NTM Affair, French Cultural Politics, and Americanization as Cultural Miscegenation”. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], American Musicological Society (Midwest), Grand Valley State University . [Details]
(2003)AMS, SEM, SMT (West Region Joint Annual Conference),
J. Griffith Rollefson (2003) “‘In Other Words, I Am Three’: Charles Mingus’s Third Stream”. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], AMS, SEM, SMT (West Region Joint Annual Conference), University of Arizona . [Details]

Professional Associations

 AssociationFunctionFrom / To
International Association for the Study of Popular Music Member01-JAN-04 / 01-JAN-14
Society for Ethnomusicology Member01-JAN-06 / 01-JAN-14
American Musicological Society Member01-JAN-01 / 01-JAN-14
Society for American Music Member01-JAN-04 / 01-JAN-14

Committees

 CommitteeFunctionFrom / To
Graduate Studies Committee member/
Research and Innovation Committee Music Department Rep2015 /
Digital Arts and Humanities Committee -- UCC Committee Member2014 /
Research Committee -- UCC Department of Music Committee Member2014 /
Admissions Interviewer - Girton College Cambridge Co-Interviewer2014 / 2014
Part II Exam Board, University of Cambridge Faculty of Music Member2014 / 2014
Faculty Board and Graduate Degree Committee, University of Cambridge, Faculty of Music Faculty Member2013 / 2014
Program Committee, Inaugural AMS Popular Music Interest Group Panel Reader2012 / 2013

Employment

 EmployerPositionFrom / To
University of Cambridge Lecturer14-SEP-13 / 14-JUN-14
University of California, Berkeley Visiting Assistant Professor01-JUL-11 / 30-JUN-13
Chapman University Adjunct Lecturer01-SEP-09 / 01-JUN-11

Education

 YearInstitutionQualificationSubject
2009University of Wisconsin-Madison PhDMusicology
2004Bowling Green State University M.A.Music History
2004Bowling Green State University M.A.Music Composition
1997Macalester College B.A.Music

Languages

 LanguageReadingWritingSpeaking
Spanish FunctionalFunctionalFunctional
French FunctionalFunctionalFunctional
German FunctionalFunctionalFunctional

Consultancy

 ClientDescription
Edinburgh Napier University
External Examiner for David Hook (PhD by Publication)
Royal Holloway University
External Examiner for Simran Singh (PhD Ethnomusicology)

Outreach Activities

 Description

“Hip Hop as Postcolonial Studies in the Bay Area” with UC Berkeley Students and San Francisco Bay Area Youth at the RYSE Center (Richmond Youth Student Empowerment). Funded by the UC Chancellor’s Public Scholar Award, American Cultures Engaged Scholarship (ACES) Research Grant at UC Berkeley to Implement the Public Scholarship Initiative [Research Stipend and Course Development Funds] (2012-13)

"Planet Rap" Community Engaged Scholarship Pilot Program linking Madison, Wisconsin and Nanterre, France. Funded by the Evjue Humanities Exposed (HEX) Research Award (Public Scholarship Program of the University of Wisconsin Center for the Humanities) [Research Stipend] (2005)

Journal Activities

 JournalRoleTo / From
Journal Of The American Musicological Association Referee-
Journal Of The Society For Musicology In Ireland Editor-
Urban History Referee-
Journal Of The Society For Musicology In Ireland Member of Editorial Board-
Popular Music Referee-
American Literary History Referee-
Music And Letters Referee-

Other Activities

 Description

Peer review (manuscripts) for:
Indiana University Press
Versita/DeGruyter Press
University of Chicago Press
Oxford University Press

Teaching Activities

Teaching Interests

While my research is focused on black music and postcoloniality, my disciplining in the musicologies, music composition, and jazz performance has allowed my teaching interests to run the gamut from music appreciation courses in popular and art musics for non-majors, to jazz history, theory, and pedagogy courses for music majors, to the ethnomusicology and musicology sequences for majors.  As a faculty member at Cambridge, Berkeley, and University College Cork I have led large lecture classes, advised teaching assistants, led graduate seminars in my areas of specialization, and served as a MA and PhD supervisor on topics from the music of the Cypriot Diaspora, to Jazz in Film Noir, to Beyonce's Feminism, to Tyler the Creator's Web Savvy.

My pedagogical philosophy takes as its germinal idea the paradoxical concept of “student as expert.”  By arming students with critical tools and theoretical apparatuses, in addition to historical and cultural data, I challenge students to act as authorities.  To actualize this philosophy I take the unusual step of placing form on an equal footing with content at the undergraduate level.  We read academic journal articles, engage in discussion and debate, and problematize readings from texts (and textbooks) in order to interrogate representations of musical meaning—bringing artists and scholars into class whenever possible.  Indeed, in my experience, the outcomes of this approach suggest that students who are empowered to consider and represent their own views on musical topics will be motivated to do the hard work necessary to make such representations meaningful and original.  This approach necessitates a humanistic focus on writing over testing, and as such is much more time intensive.  In the end, however, as an educator I am more interested in a student’s ability to synthesize content and theory in a critical way than I am in a student’s capacity to memorize and reproduce data sets.

My greatest successes in teaching have come in the realm of facilitating original research at the undergraduate level.  My undergraduate course “Planet Rap: Global Hip Hop and Postcolonial Perspectives” employs the idea of the “Planet Rap Cipher” an online discussion site modeled on a hip hop “cipher” wherein a feedback loop is established to challenge, critique, and ultimately empower all members of the circle.  Similarly, the final project for this class resulted in a “digital research object” posted to an online “research gallery.”  My tech-savvy students develop interactive websites, real-time video annotations, podcasts, web-documentary projects, performance-led digital outputs, and other creative research projects that analyze aspects of global hip hop.  In keeping with the cipher concept, as their final assignment students critiqued their classmates’ work and engaged in dialogue on the gallery, accounting for a portion of the final project grade.  I have found that the “research gallery” model focuses my students’ research and writing as they are challenged to communicate ideas clearly and respond to both their professor and their peers.  The format also indicates that students are able to model their presentations on my multimedia lectures, a fact that has proven a common thread in positive student evaluation comments.

I am also dedicated to teaching-led research.  Following from my idea of student as expert, I love engaging students in the research process as I work through new material—and I have come to rely on crowd-sourced close readings of music and culture from my students.  This belief in engaging and empowering students to act as experts has led to my recent endeavors in publicly engaged scholarship.  These public ethno/musicology projects have ranged from teaching global hip hop and “Musical (African) Americanization” to audiences at London’s Southbank Centre (as part of Alex Ross’s Rest is Noise Festival), to public lectures on Irish hip hop as part of UNESCO’s Learning Cities Initiative, to acting as UC Chancellor’s Public Scholar at UC Berkeley—a signature example of my teaching approach and philosophy that I will discuss in the following section. 

In conclusion, I am a committed and challenging, yet well-liked classroom teacher who models the research process and then asks students to act as experts in developing their own research interests and agendas.

Recent Postgraduates

 Graduation YearStudent NameInstitutionDegree TypeThesis Title
2017Michalis Poupazis University College CorkPh.D. (NUI)'Utopian Ruptures in “Spaghetti Junction”'
2015Julie Seagrave UCCNative Tongues and Strategic Essentialism
2015Caoimhe O'Byrne UCCMark Ronson's New Authorship
2014Alex Marsden University of Cambridge
2014Will Finch University of Cambridge

Current Postgraduate Students

 StudentDegree Type
Mc Glynn James Doctoral Degree

Modules Taught

 Term (ID))TitleLinkSubject
2019History of Jazz 2: Bebop through Tomorrow's Jazz MU2037History of Jazz 2: Bebop through Tomorrow's Jazz
2019History of Jazz 1: Roots Through Swing MU2026History of Jazz 1: Roots Through Swing
2019Music and Popular Culture MU6036Music and Popular Culture
2019Music and Race MU3013Music and Race

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School of Music and Theatre

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Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh, College Road, Cork, T12 K8AF,

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