Rashida K. Braggs is a scholar-performer who sings, dances, acts and performs spoken word. Trained in Performance Studies (Ph.D. Northwestern University), Advertising (M.S. Boston University), and Theater Studies and English (B.A. Yale University), she consistently weaves performance through her pedagogy and scholarship. Jacob’s Pillow, Williams College Museum of Art, Tapir art gallery and the
United Solo Theatre Festival have featured her performances. She is Associate Professor in Africana Studies at Williams College, where she wrote the book Jazz Diasporas: Race, Music and Migration in Post-World War II Paris and essays in journals like The Black Scholar and The James Baldwin Review.
Jazz's Silent Theatre: Explorations of Black Women Performers in Paris
As a jazz scholar, I am concerned with how often black women's stories are silenced, ignored or forgotten in jazz history. But how do I effectively hear and see them? I turn to theater as a helpful medium to better embody, voice, and visualize multiple black women’s stories in ways that exceed the written page-- just as black women have long contributed well beyond the pages of jazz history. At The Camargo Foundation, I will create a play-essay, my term for the merging of theater with expository writing; it will interweave interview transcripts, field notes, theories and original play excerpts borne out of my ethnographic research on black women performers in Paris in order to foreground their silenced knowledges. Ultimately, this play-essay attempts to model more intersectional, multi-sighted and dialogical jazz scholarship.