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Julie Hunter is an Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology specializing in African music. She has a secondary appointment in the Department of Anthropology, and teaches courses in the Africana and Women's and Gender Studies programs. She also directs the Crane West African Drum and Dance Ensemble. She joined the faculty at the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam in fall 2012, after receiving her Ph.D. and M.A. in ethnomusicology from Brown University, and B.M. with High Honors in Music History and Literature from Vanderbilt University. Her research interests include the music of Africa, Ewe music, Ghanaian dance-drumming, music and gender, highlife, musics of the African diaspora, Afropop, performance studies, music pedagogy, and applied ethnomusicology.
Hunter's dissertation research, under the direction of Jeff Todd Titon, explored the rise of women's drumming in West Africa through the lens of Ewe female drummers, dancers, singers, and composers, and their unique expressions of gender and musical innovations within music associations, or habobo. During her graduate studies, she organized an African Music Festival at Brown, and edited an extensive digital collection of African field recordings by James Koetting, which highlights Kasena music and culture of Northern Ghana. Hunter has received funding for her research from SUNY Potsdam, the West African Research Association (WARA), Brown University, and the U.S. Department of Education (Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship).
At SUNY Potsdam, Julie Hunter teaches music and liberal arts majors in a range of courses, supervises undergraduate ethnomusicology projects, organizes global music events, leads African music workshops, and serves on numerous committees. She is also the faculty advisor to the Potsdam Okuma Taiko ensemble. Courses taught include Global Popular Music and Urban Cultures, Music of Africa, World Music Cultures, Gender and Music in Cross-Cultural Perspective, Music, Culture, and Politics in West Africa, Introduction to Ethnomusicology, West African Drum and Dance Ensemble, and Music History III: Music Since 1900. Previously, she taught at Brown University (Teaching Assistant), Bryant University and Boston College before coming to Crane.
She has studied West African performance from Martin Kwaku Kwaakye Obeng, Manavi Deku, Daniel Atiso, Stephen Atiso, and Kwame Ahime with a primary focus on Ewe, Akan, and Ga traditions of southern Ghana.
Hunter has been an active member of the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM) since 2000, among other professional affiliations, and from 2002-2005 served as student representative on the SEM Council. She has presented at regional and national conferences.