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Associate Professors

Sylvia Bruinders

MA Wesleyan University, PhD Illinois 


Sylvia Bruinders is currently teaching African, African diasporic and World musics at undergraduate level as well as musical ethnography and ethnomusicological theory and method at post-graduate level.

She completed her doctorate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Through her research on the Christmas Bands Movement in the Western Cape, South Africa she investigated the subjectivities of members of the bands and explored how social and political processes impact upon community practices in the Western Cape. She was awarded the African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowship by the American Council of Learned Societies in 2012 to complete a monograph based on her PhD dissertation.

She completed the Honours degree in Musicology at UCT in 1995 where she was introduced to the study of Ethnomusicology. In 1997 she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study Ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, USA. Wesleyan University has a renowned World Music programme and she was fortunate to study West African drumming with Abraham Adzenyah, a master drummer from Ghana, Brazilian Samba, Caribbean Steelband, the kora and jazz (mallet) percussion. Her Master's thesis investigated informal musical instruction in community structures in Cape Town.

At the University of Illinois she attended performance ensembles such as Zimbabwean mbira and drumming as well as Balinese and Javanese Gamelan. She also participated in cultural exchange programs and studied with local musicians and music teachers for a month in Bali in 2000 and in Zimbabwe in 2001.