Statement in Support of Philip Ewell

August 1, 2020

The Department of Music at Yale University is proud to count Prof. Philip Ewell among the most distinguished alumni of its Ph.D. program. His powerful work on race and music theory is at the forefront of musical thought today, and has been a touchstone for our own departmental thinking about inclusion and equity in music studies.

Our graduate faculty rejects and condemns the racist and personal attacks on Prof. Ewell that appear in the most recent issue of the Journal of Schenkerian Studies, and in particular the decisions by commissioning editors to include an anonymous critique and to exclude contributions from Prof. Ewell or indeed any scholar of color. We believe that the execution of the “Symposium on Philip Ewell’s 2019 SMT Plenary Paper” serves only to exemplify Prof. Ewell’s observations that “the white racial frame seeks to shield Schenker from unwanted criticism” and that “the most important function of the white racial frame is to keep the system as it is,” and in so doing, the Journal of Schenkerian Studies failed to meet the scholarly and ethical standards that we expect of our discipline.

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