Donna Buchanan

Donna Buchanan Awarded NEH Fellowship

Ethnomusicology professor Donna A Buchanan has received a 2017 National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor Fellowship for her project “Bells in the Music and Culture of Bulgaria.” The award will support the preparation of Buchanan’s new book, The Girl in the Bell: Audible Cosmologies of Bulgarian Belief, which considers how the gendered “voices” of pastoral and ritual bells make audible 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’s fellowship is one of six received by Illinois faculty this year. A campus announcement describing the awards can be found here.

Read more about Prof. Buchanan.

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