Ben Dupriest

Sixth Year Graduate Student in Ethnomusicology
103, Music Building

My work examines the entanglement of musical pasts and presents in the American South.  I am currently conducting ethnographic fieldwork and historiographic research on the blues and blues communities in North Mississippi.  In my project, I’m thinking about musical heritage, divergent historical consciousnesses, and the mobilization of these phenomena towards constructions of community and self.  To this end, the initial goals of my ethnography are three-fold: to understand the gravity of iconic music histories and genealogies for contemporary blues musicians; to examine the abundance of popular historical discourse amongst local and non-local people, in public and private spaces around North Mississippi; and to investigate the contemporary production and consumption of classically race(d) musics in an ostensibly, but popularly, post-racial, colorblind America.  In a broader musicological and historiographical sense, I am thinking about the many mechanisms – cultural and natural, social and political, aesthetic and affective, stylistic and otherwise – of genre in American popular music.  Across my areas of interest, I am inspired by non-binary relationships between myth and history, and memory and forgetting.

I also hold a graduate certificate from the Africana Studies Department at UPenn and previously produced an MA thesis on Lil’ Wayne and New Orleans hip hop at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, where I lived, trained, and worked as a drummer and line cook.  I am currently living in Oxford, Mississippi, where I recently purchased a lawn mower (a Husqvarna Lc121P gas-powered walk-behind push mower) and a new canoe. My dog Buster is terrified of them both.