REEEC-affiliate Donna Buchanan (Musicology) has been awarded the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for 2018 for her book project “Bells in the Music and Culture of Bulgaria.” In the last five competitions, the Fellowships program received an average of 1,178 applications a year. The program made an average of 80 awards per year, for a funding ratio of 7 percent.
Buchanan’s book considers how the gendered “voices” of pastoral and ritual bells make audible the contemporary Bulgarian beliefs about nature, the universe, spirituality and society. Whether pealing from the belfries of Orthodox cathedrals, jingling from the necks of herd animals or clamoring thunderously from the costumes of participants in Carnival masquerades, bells serve as powerful sonic metaphors of community belonging and musical beauty, their timbres informing both women’s singing and men’s instrumental practices. By attending to how bells resonate meaningfully for Bulgarians across diverse sociopolitical contexts and expressive media, this study demonstrates that we experience, know and inhabit our world not just visually, but aurally.
Buchanan is a specialist in the musical styles of Bulgaria, the Balkans, and the NIS, especially Russia and the Republic of Georgia. Her first book was an ethnomusicological monograph entitled Performing Democracy: Bulgarian Music and Musicians in Transition (University of Chicago Press, 2006). She also published an edited volume entitled Balkan Popular Culture and the Ottoman Ecumene: Music, Image, and Regional Political Discourse (Scarecrow Press, 2007).
She has been a REEEC faculty affiliate since 1998. Other than ethnomusicological methodologies and ethnography, Buchanan also teaches Mediterranean traditional and art musics, the musical cultures of indigenous peoples, and Russian and East European classical music, particularly Bartok, Musorgsky, and Shostakovich.
For more information about Buchanan, click here to see her faculty page.
For more information on UIUC faculty who were awarded NEH Fellowships, click here.
For more information on NEH Fellowships, click here.