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Improvisation, Gender and the Body Coordinator

University of Kansas

A frequent lecturer on women, gender, and jazz studies, Dr. Tucker is an interdisciplinary scholar who has been forging overlaps between women’s studies and jazz studies since 1992, and, more recently, between gender studies and improvisation. Her publications in the areas of gender and improvisation include the award-winning Swing Shift: “All-Girl” Bands of the 1940s (2000), as well as articles in Queer Episodes in Music and Modern Identity (2002), The Other Side of Nowhere: Jazz Improvisation, and Communities in Dialogue (2004). With Nichole T. Rustin, she co-edited Big Ears: Listening for Gender in Jazz Studies (2008). Her current book project, an oral history of the dance floor at the Hollywood Canteen night club of the 1940s, incorporates her interests in memory, embodiment, and nationalism through a continuing exploration of gender, race, and jazz and swing culture. She earned a PhD from History of Consciousness, an interdisciplinary social sciences and humanities program at University of California, Santa Cruz, and received an MA in women’s studies and an MA and BA in creative writing (San Francisco State University). She was the 2004-2005 Louis Armstrong Visiting Professor at the Center for Jazz Studies, Columbia University.

If people talked the way they drummed in improvisation, then I think the world would be a lot nicer…

– Youth participant, ICASP improvisation workshop