Wiley Housewright Dissertation Award


Wiley HousewrightThe Wiley Housewright Dissertation Award is designed to recognize a single dissertation on American music for its exceptional depth, clarity, significance, and overall contribution to the field. American music is interpreted in all its historical and contemporary styles and contexts, including, but not limited to art and popular musics, the musics of ethnic groups and minorities, and the full range of activities associated with music. “America” is understood here to embrace North America (Canada, The United States, and Mexico), including Central America and the Caribbean, and aspects of its cultures elsewhere in the world.

The Award carries with it a monetary prize as well as a citation that will be presented at the national conference each spring.



The dissertation must be in English, and must be for a degree awarded in calendar year 2019. Authors who entered the competition in a previous year may not enter again.

DMA and other terminal degree documents will be considered as long as the entire piece of scholarship is included in a written document (i.e., musical compositions or other materials will not be considered).


Application Requirements

In addition to the application form, the following materials are required in PDF format, naming the files as indicated starting with your last name:

  • The title page and abstract of your dissertation (YOURLASTNAME_Abstract.pdf)
  • The table of contents (YOURLASTNAME_TableofContents.pdf)
  • Preface or Introduction (YOURLASTNAME_Introduction.pdf)
  • One sample chapter (YOURLASTNAME_Chapter.pdf)

Note: If any of your files is larger than 15MB, please send the file using www.hightail.com and notify the Housewright committee chair. Any deviation from these instructions will complicate the committee’s decision process.

Please do not mail the complete dissertation at this time.



June 1

Past Winners

Year Winners
2017 Kirsten L. Speyer Carithers, “The Work of Indeterminacy: Interpretive Labor in Experimental Music” (Northwestern University)
2016 Frederick J. Schenker, “Empire of Syncopation: Music, Race, and Labor in Colonial Asia’s Jazz Age” (University of Wisconsin, Madison)
2015 Darren Mueller, “At the Vanguard of Vinyl: A Cultural History of the 
Long-Playing Record in Jazz” (Duke University)

Honorable mention: Jesse P. Karlsberg, “Folklore’s Filter: Race, Place, and Sacred Harp Singing” (Emory University)
2014 Christopher J. Wells, “ ‘Go Harlem’! Chick Webb and his Dancing Audience during the Great Depression” (University of North Carolina)
2013 R. Daniel Blim, “Patchwork Nation: Collage, Music and American Identity” 
(University of Michigan)
2012 Glenda Goodman, “American Identities in an Atlantic Musical World: Transhistorical Case Studies” (Harvard University)
2011 Sheryl Kaskowitz, “As We Raise Our Voices: A Social History and Ethnography of ‘God Bless America,’ 1918–2010” (Harvard University)
2010 Nathan Platte, “Musical Collaboration in the Films of David O. Selznick, 1932–1957” (University of Michigan)
2009 Katherine Leigh Axtell, “Maiden Voyage: The Genesis and Reception of Show Boat, 1926–1932” (University of Rochester)
2008 Jonathan Greenberg, “Singing Up Close: Voice, Language, and Race in American Popular Music, 1925–1935” (UCLA)
2007 Ayden Adler, “Classical Music for People Who Hate Classical Music”: Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops, 1930–1950 (Eastman School of Music)
2006 Drew Davies, “The Italianized Frontier: Music at Durango Cathedral, Espanol Culture, and Aesthetics of Devotion in Eighteenth-Century New Spain” (University of Chicago)
2005 Jeremy Grimshaw, “Music of a ‘More Exalted Sphere’: Compositional Practice, Biography, and Cosmology in the Music of La Monte Young” (Eastman School of Music)
2004 Charles Hiroshi Garrett, “Struggling to Define a Nation: American Music in the Twentieth Century” (UCLA)
2003 Mark J. Butler, “Unlocking the Groove: Rhythm, Meter, and Musical Design in Electronic Dance Music” (Indiana University)
2002 Mark Clague, “Chicago Counterpoint: The Auditorium” (University of Chicago)
2001 Elyse Carter Vosen, “Seventh-Fire Children: Gender, Embodiment, and Musical Performances of Decolonization by Anishinaabe Youth” (University of Pennsylvania)
2000 Sandra J. Graham, “The Fisk Jubilee Singers and the Concert Spiritual: the Beginnings of an American Tradition” (New York University)
1999 Amy C. Beal, “Patronage and Reception History of American Experimental Music in West Germany, 1945–1986” (University of Michigan)
1998 David Ake, “Being Jazz: Identities and Images” (UCLA)
1997 Jennifer L. DeLapp, “Copland in the Fifties: Music and Ideology in the McCarthy Era” (University of Michigan)
1996 David Patterson, “Appraising the Catchwords, c. 1942–1959: John Cage’s Asian- Derived Rhetoric and the Historic Reference of Black Mountain College” (Columbia University)