Butler, Melvin

Melvin L. Butler enjoyed a busy year teaching his first courses as a member of the University of Chicago faculty. He also concluded his two-year term as Secretary of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music, and presented his research in a number of venues. In Fall 2009, he gave a talk at the University of Chicago’s Franke Institute for the Humanities, entitled “On Haitian Pentecostals and Popular Music. He participated in a panel on Music and Spirituality at the Center for Black Music Research in March 2010. One of the highlights of the Spring was a presentation at the Dusable Museum, where he shared the stage with legendary gospel artist Albertina Walker. At Duke University, he presented a series of lectures and workshops with drummer/composer Brian Blade, with whom he has also remained active. Performance venues have included the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

The January 12 earthquake in Haiti has had profound impact on the people and places most central to Butler’s field research there, and he made a couple of trips there during the summer of 2010 in order to assess the current state of affairs. He continues to conduct research for his second book project, while discovering new ways to make research relevant to the everyday needs and hardships of those in Haiti.

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