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Dr. Katherine J. Hagedorn

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Pomona College

609 N College Ave

Claremont, California 91711

United States

Company Description

Pomona College, founded in 1887, offers a comprehensive program in the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. It is known for the close relationships between students and faculty, and a range of opportunities for student research. Pomona ... more

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Background Information


The Society for Ethnomusicology Inc

Board Member



Brown University


Brown University

master's degree

international relations

John Hopkins University

undergraduate degree

Spanish , Russian and English studies

Tufts University

Web References (43 Total References)

by Katherine J. ... [cached]

by Katherine J. Hagedorn

In Divine Utterances, Katherine J. Hagedorn explores the enduring cultural and spiritual power of the music of Afro-Cuban Santería and the process by which it has been transformed for a secular audience. She focuses on the integral connections between sacred music performances and the dramatizations of theatrical troupes, especially the state-sponsored Conjunto Folklórico Nacional de Cuba, and examines the complex relationships involving race, politics, and religion in Cuba. The music that Hagedorn describes is rooted in Afro-Cuban religious tradition and today pervades a secular performances that can produce a trance in audience members in the same way as a traditional religious ceremony.
Hagedorn's analysis is deeply informed by her experiences in Cuba as a woman, scholar, and apprentice batá drummer. She argues that constructions of race and gender, the politics of pre- and post-Revolutionary Cuba, the economics of tourism, and contemporary practices within Santería have contributed to a blurring of boundaries betwen the sacred and the folkloric.
Katherine J. Hagedorn Katherine J. Hagedorn is associate professor of music at Pomona College.

SEM Board of Directors [cached]

Katherine HagedornMember-at-Large (odd) (after October 4, 2003)Department of Music, Pomona College340 N College AveClaremont, CA 91711-6342Phone (w): 909-607-2456Fax: 909-621-8645

Katherine Hagedorn dies at ... [cached]

Katherine Hagedorn dies at 52; Pomona professor was Santeria priestess

Katherine Hagedorn, a longtime music professor at Pomona College in Claremont, became a Santeria priestess after years of studying sacred bata drums. print Comments
Katherine Hagedorn
Pomona College professor Katherine Hagedorn works with students in her "Music of the African Diaspora" class. (Carlos Puma)
Katherine Hagedorn was not your stereotypical priestess in the Cuba-based Santeria religion, known for its complex, ecstatic drumming that adherents believe can call forth deities.
She grew up in New Jersey, was white, had a doctorate in music and was a longtime popular professor at Pomona College.
But as a graduate student on a cold, rainy day at Brown University in 1988, she spotted a poster for an upcoming performance by an Afro-Cuban ensemble of drummers and dancers. The performance changed her life.
"From the moment the drummers struck their instruments, I was stunned," Hagedorn wrote in her 2001 book, "Divine Utterances: The Performance of Afro-Cuban Santeria. "Each delicate stroke seemed to hit my solar plexus, and I was immediately embarrassed lest anyone guess how intimately I was experiencing the sound. I could not breathe normally."
Hagedorn traveled to Cuba, studied with masters of sacred bata drums, and after a decade of practice and study, became initiated into Santeria as a priestess. It was a journey from academic objectivity to total involvement in a world that once seemed entirely foreign to her.
"My wide-angle lens of folkloric performance," she wrote, "had suddenly zoomed in to the close-up focus of personally experienced religious performance."
Hagedorn died Nov. 12 at home in Claremont after a long struggle with cancer, said Pomona College. She was 52, and had been part of the school's music faculty since 1993.
Drumming was just one of several topics she taught at the school. She also oversaw the Balinese Gamelan ensemble and taught courses in gender in music, performance traditions of the African diaspora and protest music. Her classes were emphatically participatory, not to mention loud.
"If we are learning about West African music, if we're reading about it, listening to it, we're playing it too," she said in a 2001 Pomona College Magazine article. "Same with Tuvan throat singing and Balinese Gamelan. I try to get the students to do it."
In 2000, Hagedorn was named California Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.
Katherine Johanna Hagedorn was born Oct. 16, 1961, in Summit, N.J. Her undergraduate degree was from Tufts University, with a triple major in Spanish, Russian and English studies, plus a minor in classical piano. She earned a master's degree in international relations from John Hopkins University and a master's and doctorate from Brown in ethnomusicology.
In 1989, she made the first of many trips to Cuba to study bata drums, which are played in sets of three.
Hagedorn is survived by her husband, Terry Ryan, a professor at Claremont Graduate University's Center for Information Systems & Technology; a son, Gabriel; her parents, Fred and Grace Hagedorn; and her sister Martha Hagedorn-Krass.

Authors & Teachers [cached]

Katherine Hagedorn : Pomona College, Divine Utterances, The Performance of Afro-Cuban Santeria

Jack Kent Cooke Foundation - Faculty Representatives for Graduate Arts Award [cached]

Katherine Hagedorn Pomona College 550 N College Ave Alexander Hall Claremont, CA 91711-6319 (909)621-8131

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