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Faculty Spotlight

Rebecca Dirksen Faculty Photo

Rebecca Dirksen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at IU-Bloomington. Her primary research concerns music and grassroots development in pre- and post-earthquake Haiti, where she has conducted field research for more than a decade. Concurrent projects revolve around creative responses to crisis and disaster, intangible cultural heritage protection, cultural policy, research ethics, and Haitian classical music. Broader research interests expand across the Caribbean and Latin America and include issues of (mis)representation and musical articulations of poverty and violence. Dirksen's work has appeared in the Yearbook for Traditional Music, the Ethnomusicology Review, the Bulletin du Bureau d'Ethnologie d'Haïti, and elsewhere. She is a Senior Editor for the Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography, forthcoming from Oxford University Press, for which she has curated, solicited, and edited entries on cultural figures from the French Caribbean by scholars around the world. Along with several colleagues, Dirksen previously recorded an independently distributed CD of Haitian classical music, Belle Ayiti: Mizik Savant Ayisyen, Z.A.M.A. (Friends Together for Haitian Music) (2007). A new recording project is underway in conjunction with the performance series Les Héritages Oubliés Revisités currently taking place in Port-au-Prince, supported by the Banque de la République d'Haïti; the three-CD box set will be released by Manoumba Records within the year. The Conseil d'Administration of the Banque de la République d'Haïti recently honored her "pour son dévouement à l'avancement de la musique haïtienne" with a plaque presented by Haitian President Michel Martelly.

Alumni Spotlight

Kourtney B. Liepelt - Kourtney earned a B.A. in Journalism and Spanish, with a certificate in Latin American and Caribbean Studies in December 2013. Her studies took her to Australia for a journalism course on ethnic and minority media, the United Kingdom for an internship at a travel publication, and Peru for an IU study abroad experience. During her final semester, she researched and reported on Central American immigration to the United States (Indiana specifically) for her School of Journalism senior capstone project. This reporting compelled her to apply for the Ross Hazeltine Travel Scholarship, a fund for graduates of the School of Journalism that promotes travel outside of North America for a planned and proposed reporting project. The scholarship allowed her to travel to and spend nearly three months in Guatemala to further delve into immigration issues, with the goal of humanizing the topic for the average U.S. reader. Her work has been published in The Des Moines Register and the Cedar Rapids Gazette, with another article slated to be published in Indianapolis Monthly in January or March.