PhD Dissertations

Carla Martin's (PhD '12) dissertation, "Sounding Creole: The politics of Cape Verdean Language, Music, and Disapora," investigates the interrelationship of language and music in the complex cultural domain of Cape Verde and the Cape Verdean diaspora in West Africa, Europe, and North America. Her work contributes to numerous ongoing scholarly debates in African diaspora studies and Creole studies, especially regarding the politics of representation, and offers one of the few existing comprehensive historical and ethnographic studies of language in music and of a Creole language specifically. Inherently political, the research for this dissertation has been accompanied by a decade-long project of social engagement advocating for the linguistic human rights of Cape Verdean Creole speakers.

Chérie Rivers Ndaliko's (PhD '12) dissertation, "Beyond Charitable Imperialism: Intersections of Third Cinema, Music, and Social Change in (Post-) Conflict Democratic Republic of the Congo," investigates the role of film, digital media, and music in mediating social and political change in conflict regions with specific attention to the aesthetic choices, ethical implications, and lived consequences of audio-visual production in and about Congo. This study intervenes in the discourse on activist African cinema through a bi-directional investigation of (1) increasingly prominent instances of aesthetic and ideological practices in Congolese film that are emerging as central to larger projects of social transformation, and (2) the extent to which humanitarian narratives depicting present-day Congo obscure or expose the ongoing, neo-colonial power struggle between Congo and the West.