Sis Gwen Jazz Blog

Sis Gwen Ansell

 Used with the permission of Gwen Ansell

Two years ago, I raised in this blog, the issue of a Eurocentric jazz curriculum. (Who should teach jazz in South Africa). The column was triggered by a letter from one of my readers, an SA musician studying overseas, as well as the publication of a very interesting piece of network studies research about the implications of homophily (p

reference for association with similar others) for diversity and career progression among South African scholars.

The responses to the piece were fascinating. They inevitably included accusations of “racism”, from a few individuals who really didn’t seem to have read it. There was even an invocation of what we have come to call the ‘Zille Argument’: “without [European music] their (sic) would be no harmony and no musical instruments. But this does not fit his (sic) tired and wordy narrative,” opined one commenter.

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A wee bit about Sis Gwen

Gwen Ansell is a freelance writer, researcher and trainer. She writes about jazz (for this blog, The Conversation, the Financial Mail, M&G Friday and more) and reviews books – mainly science fiction & fantasy (these reviews have appeared in the Johannesburg Mail&Guardian and the Chimurenga Chronic, among others). As a Research Associate of the Gordon Institute of Business Science, she has researched and published on jazz and music policy in the creative and cultural industries sector. She trains journalists and academic and organisational writers, and consults on music industry policy, organisational communication and training policies as well as curriculum design.

A former Louis Armstrong Visiting Professor at the Center for Jazz Studies, Columbia University, she is the author of Soweto Blues: Jazz, Politics and Popular Music in South Africa and the textbook Introduction to Journalism,, as well as various book chapters and journal articles. Watch out for her chapter on jazz in Johannesburg in the forthcoming second volume of Sounds and the City.


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