Jennifer P. Walker, a PhD student in Musicology, received a highly competitive ACLS/Mellon Dissertation Completion Fellowship for research on her dissertation “Sounding the Ralliement: Republican Reconfigurations of Catholicism in the Music of Third-Republic Paris, 1880–1905.” The first musicology PhD student at UNC since 2009 to receive the fellowship, Jennifer was among only 67 awardees nationwide to be selected from more than 1,000 applicants.
Jennifer’s dissertation reevaluates music’s role in the relationship between the French state and the Catholic church at the end of the nineteenth century by offering an alternative to the prevailing epistemological emphasis on divisions between the church and the secular Third Republic. Case studies ranging from opera and puppet theater to Parisian parish churches and Montmartre’s famed cabarets demonstrate how composers and critics from opposing ideological factions dismantled this binary. They instead used musical composition and performance to craft a brand of Frenchness that was founded on secular Republican ideology alongside the heritage of the Catholic church. Such constructions of French identity reveal a newly configured middle ground, with the state apparatus absorbing seemingly opposing subject positions into reconciliatory visions of an inclusive French republic.
Jennifer says about the award: “I am honored to have been awarded the Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship and to be counted amongst numerous fellows who have since gone on to make major contributions to their respective fields of study. This award, however, would not have been possible without the tireless support of my advisor, Annegret Fauser. I am profoundly grateful for her wisdom and guidance and I look I look forward to the additional support that the ACLS community will provide as I complete my dissertation.” Allen Anderson, chair of the Music Department, says: “Congratulations to Jennifer! The Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship acknowledges the quality and depth of Jennifer’s work, and bodes well for a promising career ahead. At the same time, this award is a testimony to the inspirational mentoring that defines the graduate program in musicology at UNC.”