Ethnomusicology in Practice: "Soul Healing in the African Diaspora"

Lecture title: Ethnomusicology In Practice: “Soul Healing” in the African Diaspora


Dr. Lara Diane Rann is the CGU Africana Studies Certificate Program’s first postdoctoral fellow (2015-2016).  A North Carolina native, Dr. Rann completed her Ph.D. and M.A. in Ethnomusicology at UCLA, and her B.A. in Anthropology from Davidson College with a Music minor. 

Dr. Rann’s academic and professional background reflects a long-standing interest in race and ethnicity within the contexts of music and dance.  Dr. Rann’s dissertation, “Soul Healing in Music and Dance Performance Courses at the University of California, Los Angeles,” illuminated students’ experiences of “soul healing” through the cultivation of spirituality, self-love/ self-knowledge, mentorship, and community in the context of two UCLA courses: the Music and Dance of Ghana World Music Performance Ensemble, taught by master drummer Kobla Ladzekpo of the Anlo-Ewe ethnic group in Ghana, West Africa, and “Advanced Hip Hop,” taught by “street dance” pioneer and choreographer Rennie Harris, of Philadelphia, PA.  Her definition of soul healing was inspired by historian Bernice Johnson Reagon’s conviction that many African American music traditions were conceived and carried out for the purpose of treating the wounds left by “soul murder,” a phenomenon that historian Nell Irvin Painter characterizes as the collective trauma that resulted from the trans-Atlantic slave trade and its aftermath.

Dr. Rann’s scholarly interests and research, based in reflexive methods such as participant-observation and insider ethnography, dovetail with her devotion to the arts.

The pianist and vocalist has researched African music and dance traditions in Senegal, Ghana, and Brazil, in addition to studying Afro-Caribbean movement styles in the Los Angeles dance community.  She will be discussing ideas that she has explored during her tenure as a postdoctoral fellow, such as psychologist Joy DeGruy-Leary’s theory of Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome and its potential application to “over-standing” artistic cultures of the Black Atlantic.

5 12 forum

IAC Library, 831 N. Dartmouth Ave.