Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Faculty Affiliate in Comparative Literature
M.S. Boston University (2000)
Ph.D. Northwestern University (2006)
Areas of Expertise
Performance Studies, Jazz Studies, African Diaspora Studies, Mass Communications (Advertising), Popular Culture Studies and Sport Studies
AFR 128 / COMP 129 / MUS 179 TUTJames Baldwin's Song (not offered 2023/24)
AFR 216 / AMST 212 / COMP 212 / DANC 217 SEMMoving While Black (not offered 2023/24)
AFR 314 / AMST 314 / ENGL 314 / COMP 321 LECGroovin' the Written Word: The Role of Music in African American Literature (not offered 2023/24)
AFR 317 / AMST 317 / DANC 317 / ENGL 317 / THEA 317 / COMP 319(F) SEMBlack Migrations: African American Performance at Home and Abroad
AFR 323 / ARTH 223 / COMP 322 / AMST 323 / ENGL 356 SEMComic Lives: Graphic Novels & Dangerous Histories of the African Diaspora (not offered 2023/24)
Select Books & Book Chapters
- Jazz Diasporas: Race, Music and Migration in Post-World War II Paris. Berkeley: U of California P, 2016.
- “James Baldwin’s Collaborative Dance.” James Baldwin in Context. New York: Cambridge UP, 2019.
- “Embodying the break in Sidney Bechet’s ‘Summertime.’” The Black Scholar 49.4 (2019).
- “Sounding out of Trauma.” The Common Reader 11 (2019).
- “Playing Diaspora as Sidney Bechet: A Meditation on Performance as Research.” Praxis: The Journal for Theatre, Performance Studies, and Criticism (2018).
- “Evoking Baldwin’s Blues.” James Baldwin Review 1 (2015): 152-163.
- “Kenny Clarke & the Desire for More Inclusive ‘Black Music.’” Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender, and the Black International 4.2 (2015): 155-168.
- “Between African-American and European: Kenny Clarke’s Musical Migrations.”African and Black Diaspora: An International Journal. 4.1 (2011): 201-211.
- “Lost Jazz Lives Recovered Between Fact and Fiction.” Journal of Popular Music Studies. 20.1 (2008): 26-43.
Select Conferences, Presentations, and Interviews
- Interview with Rashida Braggs on black girl magic. Wake Up with WURD. Narr. Aaron Smith. WURD 96.1 FM, Philadelphia. November 16, 2018. Radio.
- “Performing Jazz Diasporas from Africa to the U.S. to France.” Keynote Address. International Education Week. Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi, November 13, 2018.
- “Kenny Clarke: Un Style Minimal pour une Contribution Maximale.” Invited Presentation. Hot Vienne: Colloque International 100% jazz. Bibliothèque Francophone Multimédia de la Ville de Limoges, Limoges, France, October 24, 2018.
- “Angélique Kidjo: African Female Soldier for the Voiceless.” The 2nd Symposium of the International Council for Traditional Music Study Group on African Musics in Accra, Ghana, August 9-12, 2018.
- “Performance as Research: Embodying Race & Gender in Jazz.” Invited Lecture. Department of Music. McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, March 27, 2018.
- “Black Voices in Music Criticism Are Essential.” Panel Discussion. Baltimore Book Festival. Baltimore Inner Harbor, Maryland, September 24, 2017.
- “Never Human: Representation of Black Athletes in Media.” Lunch Time Presentation. Translation. Advertising Educational Foundation Visiting Professor’s Program. New York, New York, June 14, 2017.
- “Improvising Sidney Bechet’s Subjectivities.” Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium in Guelph, Canada, September 14-18, 2016.
- “A Peak into Jazz Diasporas.” Invited Lecture. Riffing the Repertoire Series. American Jazz Museum, Kansas City, October 20, 2016.
- “Stew Performs Black Consciousness.” Performing Blackness Symposium: Stew, The Negro Problem and Passing Strange. The John L. Warfield Center and The Performance as Public Practice Program. University of Texas, Austin, November 13, 2015.
- Interview on the life of Sidney Bechet. When African Americans Came to Paris, Part 2. Dir. Joanne Burke. Blue Lion Films, 2014.
- “Kenny Clarke.” L’épopée des musiques noires. Narr. Joe Farmer. Radio France Internationale. January 11, 2014.
- Dancer and Choreographer, “Explorations in Embodying Diaspora.” Dance/Performance in Interdisciplinary Perspective Symposium. Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown, Massachusetts, March 9, 2018.
- Dancer, “K’owo Ya.” Perf. Kuku and Nya Seven Seeds. Music Video. La Place in Paris, France, July 29, 2017.
- Spoken Word Performer and Film Editor, “Paris, Repeated Site of Flight.” James Baldwin Conference in Paris, France, May 25-28, 2016.
- Voice Artist and Choreographer, “The Round.” Projet in Situ. Mass Moca in Williamstown, Massachusetts, May 19-20, 2016.
- Dancer and Choreographer, “Me and Monsieur Bechet.” ’62 Center, Big Dance Studio. Dance 208 and Africana Studies 317. Williams College. Williamstown, Massachusetts, March 8, 2016.
- Spoken Word Performer, “Sonny’s Blues.” Merced County Arts Council in Merced, California, February 26, 2016.
Awards, Fellowships & Grants
- The Class of 1945 World Fellowship. Awarded by Williams College, 2018-2019, 2014-2015.
- Lillian Robinson Scholars Program. Awarded by the Simone de Beauvoir Institute at Concordia University, 2017-2018.
- American Theatre & Drama Society Faculty Research Award. Awarded by the American Theatre & Drama Society, 2015-2016.
- The Morroe Berger-Benny Carter Jazz Research Fund. Awarded by the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University, 2015-2016.
- Hellman Fellows Grant. Awarded by the Hellman Family Foundation, 2015-2016.
- Ghaemian Junior Scholar-in-Residence Fellowship. Awarded by the Heidelberg Center for American Studies at Universität Heidelberg, 2009-2010.
- Introduction to Humanities Postdoctoral Fellowship. Awarded by Stanford University, 2006-2009, 2010-2011.
American Studies Association
American Comparative Literature Association
Modern Language Association
Association of Theatre in Higher Education
American Society for Theatre Research
Collegium of African American Research
The Society for Multi-Ethnic Studies: Europe and the Americas
Black Performance Theory
Japanese Black Studies Association
Performance Studies International
Society for American Music
Rashida K. Braggs is Associate Professor in Africana Studies and faculty affiliate in American Studies and Comparative Literature at Williams College. With her background in Humanities (IHUM postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University), Performance Studies (Ph.D. Northwestern University), Mass Communications (M.S. Boston University), and Theater Studies and English (B.A. Yale University), Dr. Braggs introduces a performative lens to African diasporic cultural expressions, from jazz to sports to mass media. Her book Jazz Diasporas: Race, Music and Migration in Post-World War II Paris (2016) analyzes music, literature, film, historical documents and ethnographic interviews in order to investigate the illusion of a color-blind Paris that seduced African American musicians, the strategies they used to thrive in Paris, and the transformations in personal identity that paralleled jazz’s own morphing identity from 1946-1963. In her current manuscript and accompanying performance project “Move Jazz, Black Woman Move,” Dr. Braggs explores how and why black jazz women performers of African descent migrate to, from and between Francophone cities around the world. Her work has also been published in such journals as Nottingham French Studies, The Journal of Popular Music, Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender, and the Black International and The James Baldwin Review.
Dr. Braggs consistently interweaves her scholarly explorations with her pedagogical practices. As a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University and visiting professor at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, she has taught classes in introductory theater and performance, race & gender in literature, and American literature & art history. Her courses at Williams College such as 13 Ways of Looking at Jazz, Groovin’ the Written Word: The Role of Music in African American Literature, Race(ing) Sports: Issues, Themes and Representations of Black Athletes, and Comic Lives: Graphic Novels & Dangerous Histories of the African Diaspora all teach students to explore ways that performance, though seemingly just entertainment, conveys much about a society’s values, patterns and negotiations of power. In addition to her scholarship and pedagogy, Dr. Braggs enjoys putting performance to practice by acting, writing, slamming poetry, singing, and playing multiple sports.