Faculty Publications

Identity, Purpose, and Impact: Bebop Innovators as Intellectuals and Models for African American Academic Success

Document Type

Book Chapter

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Retaining African Americans in Higher Education: Challenging Paradigms for Retaining Students, Faculty and Administrators

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This chapter examines the issue of academic culture conducive to African-American faculty retention through the metaphor of crisis, and the possibilities for overcoming this crisis implicit within the intellectual ethos of Bebop. It explains structural factors contributing to African-American intellectual and academic crisis. The intellectual example of Bebop musicians, undeniably informed by the genius of its innovators, reflects the power of a sense of belonging at the cultural vanguard and a confidence in their musical heritage and legacy. The chapter provides a detailed account of Bebop, as an intellectual practice, and the manner in which Bebop musicians cultivated the developed ideas. It examines the implications of the Bebop ethos for African-American academic practice, concluding with recommendations, not only for retention, but for the cultivation of broader traditions of academic excellence. African Americans frequently foster an alternative “black” canonical structure that replicates the dynamics of the mainstream canon, albeit in black form and thus limits the ultimate possibilities for intellectual development.


Department of Curriculum and Instruction

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DOI of published version