Tracey Mia Stewart received her Ph.D. (2021) and M.A. (2016) in Music from the University of Virginia, and her Bachelors of Music with a concentration in Music History from Howard University (2012). She joins the Swarthmore Department of Music and Dance as the Visiting Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology for the 2021-2023 academic years. Tracey was born and raised in the New Cassel neighborhood of Westbury, New York.
Tracey’s dissertation “Music, Memory, Power: Being Jamaican Maroon in the Past, Present, and Future" is an ethnographic study based on almost two years of field research in Jamaica that she began as a Fulbright researcher in 2012-2013. She devoted fourteen more months of research in Jamaica in 2017-2018, and was able to distill her data into its finished product with the support of the Carter G. Woodson Institute of African American and African Studies. The focus of Tracey’s project is music’s role in articulations of Jamaican Maroon identity and the influence that it has on the multi-faceted realms of community development.
For Tracey, music and music cultures act as lenses that facilitate our exploration, management, and understanding of the world around us and our place in it. Music and performance are central elements in the efforts of Jamaican Maroons and similarly marginalized communities in Africa, the Caribbean, South America, and the United States, who must navigate through and around inequitable systems of power and the structures that they support. Tracey is interested in how people use music and performance to push back against those systems and the control that they hold over the social, economic, and political mobility of such communities.