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Assistant Professor Jack Hamilton Delves Into Rock ’n’ Roll’s Identity Crisis

Published July 20, 2015 in News

By: Katie McNally / University Communications

Long before he ever stood in front of a University of Virginia classroom, wrote for Slate, finished grad school at Harvard, or even finished college himself, Jack Hamilton rocked stages across the United States and Europe as a member of the Mike Welch Band.

When he took a break from touring to return to his studies at New York University, he was still considering life as a musician after graduation, but the lure of his research was too tempting. Hamilton wanted to do more than just play music; he wanted to learn about its history and influence on culture. 

He went on to earn his Ph.D. in American studies from Harvard University, focusing his research on the constant conversation between race and music, a topic he will explore in depth in his upcoming book, “Rubber Souls: Rock and Roll and the Racial Imagination.” Hamilton also keeps up a regular analysis of current music and popular culture trends by writing as a critic for Slate.


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