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Women Who Rock

Year of Funding: 
Women Who Rock logo; a woman coming out of a lotus surrounded by a radio tower, movie camera, and film reels

Women Who Rock examines the politics of performance, social identity, and material access in music scenes, cultures, and industries. Since 2011, it has brought together scholars, archivists, musicians, media-makers, performers, artists, and activists to explore the role of women and popular music in the creation of cultural scenes and social justice movements in the Americas and beyond. The project has several interwoven components:

  1. Project-based coursework at the graduate and undergraduate levels.
  2. An annual participant-driven conference and film festival.
  3. An oral history archive hosted by the University of Washington Libraries Digital Initiatives program.

In Winter 2018, Michelle Habell-Pallán and Sonnet Retman will offer an undergraduate course, “Rock the Archive: Hip Hop, Indie Rock and the Digital,” (AFRAM 337/ GWSS 241) that introduces students to popular music studies, the practice of archive building, oral history analysis, and digital scholarship. In addition, in conjunction with the annual Women Who Rock un-conference in April 2018, we will host a collaborative graduate student mentoring workshop. 

Women Who Rock also facilitates a graduate student mentoring workshop in which students present their work in progress and receive feedback from a range of established scholars with backgrounds in feminist performance theory, music studies, critical race theory and technology studies gathered together from the University of Washington campuses and across the nation. Each year’s workshop has provided a valuable space for mentoring graduate students, including women of color graduate students, whose inquiries into popular music and performance cultures are not always legible within their own disciplines.

The mentoring workshop fosters a cohort of graduate students whose work contributes to the study and practice of feminist media making and digital humanities and also bears a unique and identifiable coherence. Pairing the workshop with the un-conference gives graduate students an opportunity to reach many different audiences with their research. Several of the students who have presented at the mentoring workshop have attained tenure-track jobs and are currently developing satellite Women Who Rock mentorship workshops on their new campuses.


Primary Contacts

Sonnet Retman (American Ethnic Studies) 

Michelle Habell-Pallán (Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies)

Angelica Macklin (Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies)