Title: Adjunct Instructor of Music and Spanish
Office: 5234 Emery Hall
Jessica Hajek, PhD, is a recent musicology graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with an emphasis on ethnomusicology and Latin American/Caribbean studies. With her interdisciplinary background, Hajek’s interests include carnival practices in the Caribbean region, intersection of public policy and urban cultural expressions, Haitian diaspora in the Dominican Republic and applied pedagogy for music/language instruction. She is fluent in Spanish and has also studied Haitian Creole.
Her dissertation, “The Capital of Carnival,” centered on carnival groups known as “Alibabá” parade in the streets of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic who perform unison dance routines while dressed in stylized Middle-Eastern inspired costumes that are accompanied by a unique marching rhythm on percussion and brass instruments. As a social history of the performance of Alibabá music and dance during carnival in Santo Domingo’s working-class neighborhoods, her work analyzes the production of perceptions of music and sound that determine the politics of everyday musical life.
Hajek was an active student scholar, presenting papers at numerous conference over the past decade, including the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM), the Haitian Studies Association (HAS) and the Society for American Music (SAM). She also served at the Student Representative for the Midwest Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology (MIDSEM) in 2010, and again 2016-17.