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Cancel Culture Mob Comes for Music Theory Prof at U. North Texas

Cancel Culture Mob Comes for Music Theory Prof at U. North Texas

“This should also extend to investigating past bigoted behaviors by faculty”

This just goes to show that no discipline is immune to this. The mob wants to politicize and weaponize everything.

National Review reports:

At the University of North Texas, the Mob Comes Calling for a Music Theorist

Chances are you have never heard of the music theorist Heinrich Schenker or the Journal of Schenkerian Studies, a publication at the University of North Texas (UNT) devoted to “all facets of Schenkerian thought, including theory, analysis, pedagogy, and historical aspects.” But that journal, and, in particular, the UNT music-theory professor Timothy Jackson, who oversees it, are now at the center of a controversy that goes to the heart of whether we are truly a free society. Can people speak their minds, or will those who express dissenting opinions be destroyed by a mob they can neither challenge nor resist?

In the most recent issue of the Journal of Schenkerian Studies, Jackson published a critique of a plenary address given by the music theorist Philip Ewell to the Society for Music Theory. Ewell posited “a ‘white racial frame’ in music theory that is structural and institutionalized.” In particular, Ewell accused Schenker (1868–1935) of being racist, therefore suggesting that his work in music theory is tainted.

For Jackson to have questioned Ewell’s thesis and defended Schenker against the charge of racism was seen as nothing short of heresy. UNT graduate students and faculty, as well as music professors across the country, are now demanding that Jackson be investigated, his journal shut down, and his position eliminated. A group of graduate students in UNT’s Division of Music History, Theory, and Ethnomusicology issued a statement calling on the university to “hold accountable every person responsible for the direction of the publication” of the journal.

“This should also extend to investigating past bigoted behaviors by faculty,” they wrote, “and, by taking this into account, the discipline and potential removal of faculty who used the [Journal of Schenkerian Studies] platform to promote racism. Specifically, the actions of Dr. Jackson — both past and present — are particularly racist and unacceptable.” A group of UNT faculty piled on, circulating a petition “endors[ing] the call for action” by the graduate students.


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I think I heard them testing their guillotine on a melon.

I hope the administrators will have the backbone to stand up to the Mob. I realize that is not likely because the administrators are likely to be among the Marxists in the Mob.

As Glenn Reynolds says, when they shut down the universities, we will be told it’s because of “anti-intellectualism”.

“Anti-intellectualism” is not what I’m smelling here….

Dantzig93101 | August 3, 2020 at 7:44 pm

There’s a simple solution to this particular problem, but it won’t be used: only admit students who have the aptitude and interest for university-level work. The rest are time-wasters and troublemakers. “Take them to Detroit.”

You shall have no choice, apparently.
You want “ethnomusicology”, well let there be a course/s on that, but that should not mean the cancellation of another.
This has got to stop.

I am listening to Ewell’s speech which started all this nonsense. The speech is nonsense. He’s saying there are too many white people and not enough POC in music theory, and explains it with all the usual critical race theory nonsense, in an accusatory and somewhat sarcastic tone.

Perhaps nonwhites ought to invent a worthy music theory first.

It’s a fascinating speech. He seems to be linking western music theory to one theorist, Schenker. Blaming Schenker isn’t enough to change music theory. Many of its foundations come from others, most famously composers who were not Schenker. JS Bach for example. We would certainly call Schenker a racist today. But that doesn’t mean that western music isn’t the most theoretically grounded.

Around 7:30 he talks about his father, who had a PhD in number theory, that rare person (nonwhite or white) who was really competent in one of the accomplishments of “white culture”. Unfortunately the son seems not to have imbibed the father’s grasp of western culture. The son rejects all that and says nonwhite music is just as sophisticated. Fine. Prove it.

Apparently when blacks talk of the “fetishization of black bodies”, they mean those who compare them to apes. I didn’t understand this until hearing the comparison at about 11:00 . Before that I had no idea what this was about; I didn’t see anyone fetishizing their bodies.

He then goes on to compare this to antisemitism in philosophy. I think it’s fair to issue such a challenge to Jews but do it openly: have Jews produced worthy philosophical works? I think this is an easy yes, and the question is whether western culture keeps up. I am a bit tired of black racialists clinging to the comparison to antisemitism. Their argument has to stand on its own.

    nordic_prince in reply to artichoke. | August 8, 2020 at 8:56 am

    It didn’t dawn on me until you said his father had a Ph.D in number theory that I realized whose son he was – I actually had Dr. Ewell the elder for a couple of classes in grad school and was an assistant for him one semester. The father was a nice enough fellow and was racially tolerant enough to have a white wife. You would think growing up in that atmosphere the son would have been more tolerant as well, but I guess not.