Terri Brinegar recently presented her paper, “Whoopin’, Shoutin’, and Singin’: The African-American Sermonette at the Crossroads of Class and Race in the 1920s,” at the Society for Ethnomusicology Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas. Brinegar's research focuses primarily on the role of the voice in African-American musical expressions.
In her paper, Brinegar describes the role of religious race recordings of condensed three-minute sermons called “sermonettes,” which became public venues for a new form of modernity in African-American working class communities. Through religious recordings, African-Americans were able to contest the ideals of middle-class values and aesthetics. As these recordings expanded into the public arena as a continuation of oral traditions, they challenged notions of racial uplift, in which education and written discourses were one of the preferred expressions of modernity.
Brinegar also received an award from the Religion, Music, and Sound Section of SEM.