Orangeburg, S.C. – Three Claflin University students have been selected to travel abroad to conduct research in ethnomusicology. Akilah Morgan, Jacqueline Pleasant and Ar’Darius Stewart will participate in research on why and how people make music. The three students competed with a highly qualified peer group at Claflin for these rare international research opportunities.
Morgan and Pleasant will travel to Trinidad, Tobago, and Barbados with Dr. Alison Mc Letchie, an assistant professor of sociology at Claflin. Morgan is a rising senior with a double major in music and sociology from Los Angeles, Calif. Pleasant is a rising senior from Port Tobacco, Md., majoring in biochemistry with a minor in music. Mc Letchie’s project, Let My People Sing: Toward an Ethnomusicology of Catholic Musical Indigeneity in Trinidad, will engage Morgan and Pleasant in a broad cultural survey of Catholic Church musicians across three geographically similar, yet culturally distinct Caribbean islands.
Stewart and Dr. Peter Hoesing will visit the East African nation of Uganda. Steward, a native of Abbeville, S.C., is a mass communications major with a minor in theater. Hoesing is an assistant professor of music history and ethnomusicology at Claflin. His project, Archiving Africa: Critical Perspectives in Post-Colonial Digital Humanities, will immerse Stewart in a research collaboration at the Klaus Wachsmann Music Archive at Makerere University. Hoesing and Stewart will support the Archive’s efforts to catalogue and digitize their holdings.
These study abroad opportunities were made available through the Faculty International Research Awards from the Claflin University Visionary Leadership Institute’s (VLI) Global Leadership Program (GLP). These awards were funded by a grant from the United Methodist Church Black College 5% Fund. The Black College Fund assists the 11 United Methodist-related historically black colleges in funding for faculty development, maintaining infrastructure, student scholarships and financial aid.
“Both archival and qualitative techniques like ethnography— writing about people—are essential components of research in the humanities and social sciences,” said Hoesing. “Thanks to Claflin’s Global Leadership Program, these students will have unprecedented access to international perspectives on this kind of research.”
The Claflin University Visionary Leadership Institute (VLI) prepares Claflin University graduates to be globally engaged visionary leaders. The VLI provides Claflin students with extraordinary opportunities to develop the competencies required of visionary leaders. The Global Leadership Program (GLP) supports the goals of the VLI by preparing students for global leadership roles in their chosen fields and offering opportunities to develop international as well as interdisciplinary leadership skills focused around emergent global issues.
“These students will be working with some outstanding academics and practitioners on these trips,” said Dr. Mc Letchie. “Even if they never become archivists, ethnographers or professional musicians, we are confident that they will become better global citizens and students.”
Founded in 1869, Claflin University is recognized by national publications such as U.S. News and World Report, Forbes.com and Washington Monthly as one of America’s best liberal arts colleges. The University proudly serves the state of South Carolina, the nation and the world. Its beautiful historic campus is home for approximately 2,000 students from every region of the United States and more than 20 international countries. Claflin students demonstrate extraordinary achievement, distinctive confidence and a lifelong desire to transform society through visionary leadership. Its academic programs prepare students to compete and succeed in a global and technological society.
Outstanding alumni include Chief Justice of South Carolina Supreme Court (Ret) Ernest A. Finney, Jr.; renowned photographer, author and publisher Cecil Williams; internationally recognized artist Leo Twiggs; Vela McClam-Mitchell, president/CEO and owner, Georgia International Travel; and the eighth president of Claflin University, Dr. Henry N. Tisdale. For more information, visit claflin.edu or GoToClaflin.com.