Andrew Malilay White '12 receives Stuart Tave Teaching Fellowship

Author: Noelle Elliott

Andrew White

Andrew Malilay White '12 received a Stuart Tave Teaching Fellowship from the Humanities Division of the University of Chicago. He is one of five PhD candidates in the humanities to receive the fellowship for the 2019-2020 academic year. Fellowship recipients design and teach an undergraduate course on a subject of their choosing that, while remaining separate from their dissertation research, nevertheless maintains connections to their broad humanistic interests. Recipients are chosen in order to provide the College with original and engaging course options.

This year, Andrew is leading a course called "Improvisation: Critical Studies in Music." The course keeps the sociocultural aspects of performance at the forefront, highlighting the racializing tendencies of the word "improvisation" in reception. In this course, students position "improvisation" between two poles. Improvisation, on one hand, is made up of actions that are practiced in advance, whose sequence is chosen in the moment. On the other hand, improvisation is treated as a practice with transcendent social possibilities, a practice whose outcome cannot be anticipated. Topics include the utopian promises of Black improvisatory practice, the disappearance of public extemporized performance in the nineteenth century, and the co-opting of "improvisation" and "creativity" as corporate buzzwords. Coursework consists of seminar-style discussion, writing, and creative projects.