Book by Professor Emerita Victoria Levine Receives Two Major Awards

Professor Emerita of Music Victoria Lindsay Levine has received two major awards for the book “Music and Modernity among First Peoples of North America,”which she co-edited with Dylan Robinson (Stó:lō First Nation) of Queen’s University in Canada. The Society for Ethnomusicology awarded Levine and Robinson the Ellen Koskoff Edited Volume Prize at their annual meetings earlier this fall. In addition, the American Musicological Society presented them the Ruth A. Solie Award for an edited collection. Both awards honor a collection of essays of exceptional merit.

Photo by Gray Warrior.

Each prize acknowledges “the value of the collective contributions to a volume, while recognizing the central role of the editors in conceiving and shaping the whole.” In presenting the Koskoff Prize, Aaron Allen of the University of North Carolina, said “the contributors and editors are both Indigenous and settler scholars from the US and Canada working together to implement a decolonized orientation to the musical, cultural, and theoretical materials interrogated by the book. Each chapter has been finely tuned, with excellent writing that reveals thinking that has unfolded after long gestation, both by the authors themselves and by the generations of wisdom they reference and build upon. The book is inspiring in its form, approach, and diverse contents. [The volume’s premise is] that there is no traditional-modern binary; instead, there are multiple, simultaneous Indigenous modernities, many of which fly in the face of popular and scholarly assumptions about Indigenous music and sound. [The co-editors and contributors] have affirmed and situated Indigenous ways of knowing, doing, and being-in-the-world. They have provided an exceptional resource for teaching about First Nations and Native American music. And they have offered us an exemplary path forward in our collective efforts to decolonize ethnomusicology.”

In announcing the Solie Award, Suzanne Cusick of New York University referred to the book as “a shining achievement of collaborative endeavor . . . With uniformly strong chapters investigating how Indigeneity and modernity have been experienced, reconfigured, and reimagined in sound by Native communities in North America, the book foregrounds the insights of Indigenous scholars and their interlocutors while remaining sensitive to hybridities with non-Indigenous cultures. The result is a robust contribution to a planetary understanding of modernity and its effects.”

Christina Leza, associate professor and chair of CC’s Anthropology Department, also contributed an important chapter to the volume. “Music and Modernity among First Peoples of North America” was published by Wesleyan University Press in 2019.

Levine taught ethnomusicology at Colorado College from 1988 until 2020 and held the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professorship, the Christine S. Johnson Professorship in Music, and the NEH Distinguished Professorship in the Humanities. She served as the W. M. Keck Foundation Director of the Hulbert Center for Southwest Studies from 1999 to 2004. Robinson is assistant professor of ethnomusicology at Queen’s University, where he holds the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts. Levine and Robinson received support for this project through a Connections grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada together with funding from CC’s Humanities Division and the Southwest Studies Jackson Fellows program. Levine’s summer research assistants Emily Kohut ’16, Rishi Ling ’18, and Breana Taylor ’16 supported manuscript preparation with funds from CC’s Faculty-Student Collaborative Research grants, the Christine S. Johnson fund, and the NEH Professorship.