Ray Allen

Professor, History. Director, American Studies Program.

  • B.S., Bucknell University
  • Ph.D, University of Pennsylvania
  • Author of books and articles on American, African-American, and Afro-Caribbean vernacular music styles.

Ray Allen is Professor of Music at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center. In addition he directs the American Studies Program and serves as a Senior Associate at the H. Wiley Hitchcock Institute for Studies in American Music. He teaches courses on American vernacular music with an emphasis on the music cultures of New York City.

Professor Allen's research focuses on a variety of American folk and popular music, with a special interest in New York City music cultures. He is the author of "Singing in the Spirit: African-American Sacred Quartets in New York City" (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1991) and co-editor of "Island Sounds in the Global City: Caribbean Popular Music and Identity in New York" (University of Illinois Press, 1998) and most recently "Ruth Crawford Seeger's Worlds: Innovation and Tradition in Twentieth Century American Music"(University of Rochester Press, 2007). He is currently completing a manuscript on the urban folk music revival of the 1950s and 1960s.

Trained in folklore, ethnomusicology, and American Studies, Professor Ray Allen teaches courses on American folk and popular musics with an emphasis on the music cultures of New York City. His research has ranged from African American gospel and Caribbean Carnival music to works of composer's Ruth Crawford Seeger and George Gershwin. He is currently completing a book on the New Lost City Ramblers and the urban folk music revival.

Books and Publications

"Performing Dio's Legacy: Mike Seeger and the Urban Folk Revival." In Ray Allen and Ellie Hisama, eds., Ruth Crawford Seeger's Worlds. University of Rochester Press, 2007. (Books and Publications: Chapter) 2007

Ruth Crawford Seeger's Worlds: Innovation and Tradition in 20th Century American Music. Co-edited with Ellie Hisama. University of Rochester Press, 2007. (Books and Publications: Edited Book) 2007

"Staging the Folk: New York City's Friends of Old-Time Music." Institute for Studies in American Music Newsletter (Spring 2006). (Books and Publications: Other Article) 2006

"Cultural Uplift and Double-Consciousness in African American Responses to Porgy and Bess," co-authored with George Cunningham. The Musical Quarterly (Volume 88, Fall 2005). (Books and Publications: Peer Reviewed Article) 2005

"An American Folk Opera? Triangulating Folkness, Blackness, and Americaness in Gershwin and Heyward's Porgy and Bess." Journal of American Folklore (Volume 117, Summer 2004). (Books and Publications: Peer Reviewed Article) 2004

"Folk Music in the United States." Review article in The Encyclopedia of American Studies (Grolier Educational, 2001). (Books and Publications: Other Article) 2001

Island Sounds in the Global City: Caribbean Popular Music and Identity in New York. Co-edited with Lois Wilcken. University of Illinois Press, 1998. (Books and Publications: Edited Book) 1998

"Unifying the Disunity: Teaching American Music from a Multi-Cultural Perspective." American Studies (Spring 1996). (Books and Publications: Peer Reviewed Article) 1996

Singing in the Spirit: African-American Sacred Quartets in New York City. University of Pennsylvania Press, 1991.(Books and Publications: Book) 1991

Creative Work New York the Global City: Grassroots Music from Around the Boroughs. Double CD and booklet compiled and annotated for Smithsonian Folkways Records. 2001

Awards, Honors and Fellowships New York Council for the Humanities grant to coordinate the conference New York City's Friends of Old-time Music. (Grants and Fellowships) 2006

Wolfe Institute for the Humanities at Brooklyn College Fellowship to research and write a book-length work focusing on the urban folk music revival. (Awards and Honors) 2006

New York Council for the Humanities grant to coordinate the conference Folk Music in the American Century: An Alan Lomax Tribute.(Grants and Fellowships) 2003

PSC CUNY research awards for the book project Porgy and Bess: An American Cultural Reader (Grants and Fellowships) 2003