Sandra Graham

  • Associate Professor
Academic Division: Arts & Humanities


Professor Graham is an ethnomusicologist who teaches courses in Arts, History, and Society (AHS foundation), classical music appreciation, African American music, global pop, and music traditions from around the world. She is Faculty Director of the Sorenson Center for the Arts and adviser to SAG (Students Against Gravity), the improvisation arm of TEST (The Empty Space Theater). She serves as President of the Society for American Music. Before joining the Babson faculty in 2011, she taught at the University of California, Davis, and had visiting appointments at Davidson College, the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia), the Music Academy of the University of Zagreb (Croatia), and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Her book Spirituals and the Birth of a Black Entertainment Industry will be published by University of Illinois Press in March 2018. Her articles on spirituals and blackface minstrelsy have been published in journals, books, the Grove Dictionary of American Music (2nd ed.), and The Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology (revised 2013). With vocalist Chad Runyon she has produced and recorded twelve songs by black entertainer Sam Lucas.

Academic Degrees

  • Ph D, New York University
  • MA, New York University
  • BA, Moravian College

Academic Interests

Ethnomusicology; African American Sacred and Popular Music; Black Theater; Musical Theater

Awards & Honors

  • 2014 — Ted Grossman Beaver Believer Award , Student Government Association


  • Degree Courses 2018

    • MUS 4620 GLOBAL POP
  • Degree Courses 2017

    • MUS 4620 GLOBAL POP



  • Graham, S.J. (2018). Spirituals and the Birth of a Black Entertainment Industry. Page: 350 pp.. Univ. of Illinois Press.

Essays - Academic book chapter or contribution, new, editorially reviewed

  • Graham, S.J. (2018). Composing in Black and White: Code-Switching in the Songs of Sam Lucas: Oxford Handbook of Music Censorship . Page: pp. 559592. Oxford University Press. link

Articles - Regular column in journal or newspaper

  • Graham, S.J. (2018). "How African American Spirituals Moved from Cotton Fields to Concert Halls". Zcalo Public Square. link

Other (please explain)

  • Graham, S.J. (2018). Companion Website: Spirituals and the Birth of the Black Entertainment Industry: Spirituals and the Birth of a Black Entertainment Industry. University of Illinois Press. link
  • Graham, S.J. (2013). The Songs of Sam Lucas. Center for Popular Music. link

Book Reviews - newspapers or magazines

  • Graham, S.J. (2014). Review of Elijah Wald's "The Dozens: A History of Rap's Mama": Bulletin of the Society for American Music. Vol: 40, Issue: 2, Page: 1518. Society for American Music. link

Essays - Reference book chapter or contribution, new, editorially reviewed

  • Graham, S.J. (2013). Brower, Frank: Grove Dictionary of American Music. Issue: 2nd. Oxford University Press.
  • Graham, S.J. (2013). Fisk Jubilee Singers: The Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology. Canterbury Press. link
  • Graham, S.J. (2013). Hyers Sisters: Grove Dictionary of American Music. Issue: 2nd. Oxford University Press.
  • Graham, S.J. (2013). Johnson, J. Rosamond: Grove Dictionary of American Music. Issue: 2nd. Oxford University Press.

Book Chapter

  • Graham, S.J. (2011). Reframing Negro Spirituals in the Late Nineteenth Century: Music, American Made: Essays in Honor of John Graziano. Harmonie Park Press.
  • Graham, S.J. (2009). Performances as Research (PAR) in Northern American Ethnomusicology: Landscapes for Performances as research: Scholarly Acts and Creative Cartographies. Page: 99-106. Palgrave Macmillan.

Journal Article

  • Graham, S.J. (2006). On the Road to Freedom: The Contracts of the Fisk Jubilee Singers. American Music. Vol: 24, Issue: 1, Page: 1-29. University of Illinois Press.


  • Spirituals and the Birth of a Black Entertainment IndustryGraham, S. Podcast interview, (2018)
  • Beyond Fisk: Jubilee Imitators, Innovators, and the Concert SpiritualGraham, S. American Musicological Association annual conference, Rochester, NY (2017)
  • "Blacks and the First Wave of Theater Entertainment"; "Gullah Ring Shouts"Graham, S. Two class lectures: African Americans in American Film and African American Music, Norton, MA (2015)
  • Opening Doors: A Roundtable of Past Music Theater/Dance Debut Panelists - Sam LucasGraham, S. Annual conference, Scottsdale, AZ (2014)
  • The Songs of Sam LucasGraham, S. BFRF Research Chat, Wellesley, MA (2013)
  • Working: Integrating Experiential Learning and Musical Theater in a Humanities CourseGraham, S. Annual Conference of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, Orlando, FL (2013)
  • The Working ProjectGraham, S. CWEL Faculty Gender Research Luncheon, Wellesley, MA (2013)
  • Breaking Through: Engaging Students with Experiential LearningGraham, S. TIF talk for Babson College series Navigating the Creative Process, Wellesley, MA (2012)
  • Music during Apartheid in South AfricaGraham, S. Pre-departure presentation for the course Culture, Society and En-trepreneurship in Developing Economies: South Africa, Wellesley, MA (2012)
  • The Image Problem of Negro SpiritualsGraham, S. Mini-residency, Williamsburg, VA (2010)
  • History of Spirituals in the U.S.Graham, S. Local organization, Davis, CA (2010)
  • "Jilted:" Reframing Negro Spirituals as College SongsGraham, S. Society for American Music Annual meeting, Denver, CO (2009)
  • Negro Spirituals in the Post-Civil Rights Era in the U.S.: The Traditional in the Present and the Present in the TraditionalGraham, S. What to Do with Folklore, Scientific Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Arts and Sciences, Ljublijana (2009)

Additional Links