Indiana University scholar honored for contributions to ethnomusicology

Nov. 25, 2013


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Ruth Stone, the Laura Bolton Professor of Folklore and Ethnomusicology and associate vice provost for research at Indiana University Bloomington, was honored this month for her lifetime of contributions to the field of ethnomusicology.

Stone received the award of Honorary Membership in the Society of Ethnomusicology at the society's annual meeting in Indianapolis. The award recognizes Stone's groundbreaking scholarship, dedicated teaching and service to the discipline.

"Among the most significant ethnomusicologists of her generation, Stone is a scholar who has made essential contributions to a wide range of literatures," said Harris M. Berger, professor of music at Texas A&M University and president of the Society for Ethnomusicology.

Berger, who presented the award, cited Stone's ethnographies of the music and performance of the Kpelle people of Liberia, her work as a university administrator to establish a solid institutional footing for ethnomusicology and her commitment as a teacher and mentor who has directed scores of dissertations and influenced the careers of many students.

Stone was born in Nebraska and grew up in Liberia, where she became fluent in the Kpelle language and developed a fascination with West African music. She studied ethnomusicology in graduate school at Hunter College and earned a Ph.D. at IU Bloomington.

She is the author of several books, including "Let the Inside Be Sweet: The Interpretation of Music Event Among the Kpelle of Liberia"; "Dried Millet Breaking: Time, Words, and Song in the Woi Epic of the Kpelle"; and editor of the Africa volume of the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music.

Stone helped consolidate the IU Bloomington ethnomusicology program, leading to the founding of the Ethnomusicology Institute and its eventual restructuring as the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology. She spearheaded the EVIA Digital Archive Project, an archive of ethnographic video materials, and served as president of the Society of Ethnomusicology. She also directed the Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative from 2008 to 2013.

In addition to her faculty position in the College of Arts and Sciences, Stone is associate vice provost for arts and humanities in the IU Bloomington Office of the Vice Provost for Research.

About the Society for Ethnomusicology

The Society for Ethnomusicology was founded in 1955 to promote the research, study and performance of music in all historical periods and cultural contexts. With more than 1,800 members dedicated to the study of all forms of music from diverse perspectives, it seeks to advance academic and public understanding and appreciation of music as a cultural phenomenon of unlimited variety and as a resource that is fundamental to the well-being of individuals and communities.