Sherrie Tucker

International & Interdisciplinary Studies - American Studies
Primary office:
213G Bailey Hall
1440 Jayhawk Blvd


Sherrie Tucker (Professor, American Studies, University of Kansas) is the author of Dance Floor Democracy: the Social Geography of Memory at the Hollywood Canteen (Duke, 2014), Swing Shift: "All-Girl" Bands of the 1940s (Duke, 2000) and co-editor, with Nichole T. Rustin, of Big Ears: Listening for Gender in Jazz Studies (Duke, 2008). She is a member of two major collaborative research initiatives: International Institute of Critical Improvisation Studies and Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice (for which she served as facilitator for the Improvisation, Gender, and the Body research area) both funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. She is a founding member of the Melba Liston Research Collective, a member of the AUMI (Adaptive Use Musical Instrument) research team of the Deep Listening Institute, and founding member of AUMI-KU InterArts, one of six member institutions of the AUMI Research Consortium. She was the Louis Armstrong Visiting Professor at the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University in 2004-2005, where she was a member of the Columbia Jazz Study Group. With Randal M. Jelks, she co-edits the journal American Studies. She serves with Deborah Wong and Jeremy Wallach as Series Editors for the Music/Culture Series at Wesleyan University Press.


Ph.D., History of Consciousness, University of California, Santa Cruz

Teaching Interests

  • Jazz studies
  • Improvisation studies
  • Gender
  • Feminist theory
  • Theories of race and ethnicity
  • Queer theory
  • Cultural Studies
  • Oral history
  • Popular culture
  • Theories of sexuality
  • Disability studies

Selected Publications

Dvorak, Abbey, and Sherrie Tucker. “The Adaptive Use Musical Instrument (AUMI): A Useful App for Inclusive Practice.” Imagine: Music Therapy, vol. 8, no. 1, 2017, pp. 48–50,
Haaheim, Kip, et al. “AUMI-Futurism: The Elsewhere and ‘Elsewhen’ of (Un)Rolling the Boulder and Turning the Page.” Music and Arts in Action, vol. 6, no. 1, 2017,
Tucker, Sherrie. “Poem for for Too Many Brilliant Scholars, Not Enough of Whom Are with Us Today.” Women and Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture, vol. 21, 2017, pp. 1–2.
Tucker, Sherrie. “Jazz History Remix: Black Women from ‘Enter’ to ‘Center.’” Issues in African American Music, edited by Portia Maultsby and Mellonee Burnim, Routledge, 2016, pp. 256–69.
Tucker, Sherrie. “‘Don’t Explain’: A Billie Holiday Book That Compels Us to Listen Instead.” Common Reader, 26 June 2016,
Tucker, Sherrie, et al. “Stretched Boundaries: Improvising Across Abilities.” Negotiated Moments: Improvisation, Sound, and Subjectivity, edited by Ellen Waterman and Gillian Siddall, Duke University Press, 2016, pp. 181–98.
Tucker, Sherrie. “A Conundrum Is a Woman-in-Jazz: Enduring Improvisations on the Categorical Exclusions of Being Included.” Gender and Identity in Jazz , edited by Wolfram Knauer, Wolke Verlag Hofheim, 2016, pp. 241–62.
Tucker, Sherrie. “Where Is the Jazz in Jazzercise?” Women and Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture, vol. 19, no. 2015, 2015, pp. 18–26.
Tucker, Sherrie. Dance Floor Democracy: The Social Geography of Memory at the Hollywood Canteen. Duke University Press, 2014.
Tucker, Sherrie. “It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t in the History Books (Reprint, Excerpt of Swing Shift: ‘All-Girl’ Bands of the 1940s).” Keeping Time: Readings in Jazz History, 2nd Edition, edited by Rob Walser, Oxford University Press, 2014, pp. 111–18.
Hairston-O’Connell, Monica, and Sherrie Tucker. “Not One to Toot Her Own Horn(?):  Melba Liston’s Oral Histories and Classroom Presentations.” Black Music Research Journal, vol. 34, no. 1, University of Illinois Press, 2014, pp. 121–58.
Tucker, Sherrie. “Swing: From Time to Torque (Dance Floor Democracy at the Hollywood Canteen).” Daedalus: Journal of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, edited by Gerald Early, vol. 142, no. 4, 2013, pp. 82–97.
Tucker, Sherrie. “Beyond the Brass Ceiling: Dolly Jones Trumpets Modernity in Oscar Micheaux’s Swing!” Jazz Perspectives, vol. 3, no. 1, 2009, pp. 3–34.
Rustin , Nichole T., and Sherrie Tucker, editors. Big Ears: Listening for Gender in Jazz Studies. Duke University Press, 2008.
Tucker, Sherrie. “When Did Jazz Go Straight?: A Queer Question For Jazz Studies.” Critical Studies in Improvisation/Etudes Critiques En Improvisation, vol. 4, no. 2, 2008,
Tucker, Sherrie. “Telling Performances: Jazz History Remembered and Remade by the Women in the Band.” Unequal Sisters: A Multicultural Reader in U.S. Women’s History, no. 4, Routledge, 2007, pp. 466–77.
Tucker, Sherrie. “Deconstructing the Jazz Tradition: The Subjectless Subject of New Jazz Studies.” The Source: Challenging Jazz Criticism, vol. 2, 2005, pp. 31–46.
Tucker, Sherrie. A Feminist Perspective on New Orleans Jazz Women. 2004,
Tucker, Sherrie. “Bordering on Community: Improvising Women Improvising Women-in-Jazz.” The Other Side of Nowhere: Jazz, Improvisation, and Communities in Dialogue, edited by Ajay Heble and Daniel Fischlin, Wesleyan, 2004, pp. 244–67.
Tucker, Sherrie. “When Subjects Don’t Come Out.” Queer Episodes in Music and Modern Identity, edited by Sophie Fuller and Lloyd Whitesell, University of Illinois Press, 2002, pp. 293–310.
Tucker, Sherrie. Swing Shift: “All-Girl” Bands of the 1940s. Duke University Press, 2000.

Selected Work

Selected Presentations

Tucker, S. (4/21/2018). The Best of Jazz, The Worst of Jazz: Why I Play the Adaptive Use Musical Instrument. Beyond Genre: Jazz and Popular Music. Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.
Miller, L., & Tucker, S. (11/4/2017). AUMI: Improvisation across Abilities in Collaboration and Community. Legacies of Pauline Oliveros. Brooklyn College, New York
Haaheim, K., & Tucker, S. (10/21/2017). Improvising Inclusive Communities. International Symposium on Assistive Technology for Music and Art. EMPAC, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Tucker, S. (9/1/2017). The Best of Jazz, The Worst of Jazz: Why I've Been Playing the Adaptive Use Musical Instrument. Re/Sounding Jazz. Rhythm Changes, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Tucker, S. (5/11/2017 - 5/12/2017). Interrogating the Nation/Repositioning U.S. Music in the 21st Century, Exploratory Seminar, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, led by Carol Oja and Charles Hiroshi-Garrett. Harvard University
Tucker, S. (1/21/2017). Jim Crow Away From Home: Dance Floor Democracy at Three California USO's. "World War II and the Home Front in Southern California," Historical Society of Southern California Annual Conference. University of Laverne, California.
Tucker, S. (6/13/2016 - 6/15/2016). Jazz Now, Exploratory Seminar, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, led by Ingrid Monson and Vijay Iyer. Harvard University.
Abbey, D., Sherrie, T., Kip, H., & Elizabeth, B. (4/9/2016). "'Do you AUMI?' Using the Adaptive Use Musical Instrument (AUMI) in Clinical and Research Settings". Midwestern Regional Conference of the American Music Therapy Association. St. Louis, MO
Tucker, S. (2/5/2016). Dance Floor Democracy: The Social Geography of Memory at the Hollywood Canteen. Music Department, Case Western University. Cleveland, Ohio
Tucker, S., Callahan, D., Randall, A., Hairston-O'Connell, M., McMullen, T., Murchison, G., ...T. A. (12/12/2015). Where is the Jazz in Jazzercise?. Women, Music, Power: A Celebration of Suzanne G. Cusick's Work. Columbia University, New York
Tucker, S. (10/8/2015). A Conundrum is a Woman-in-Jazz: Continual Improvisations on the Categorical Exclusions of Being Included. Judy Tsou Lecture. Skidmore College
Tucker, S. (10/3/2015). A Conundrum is a Woman-in-Jazz: Continual Improvisations on the Categorical Exclusions of Being Included. JazzForum. Jazzinstitut Darmstadt
Barg, L., Kernodle, T., Spencer, D., Tucker, S., & Hairston-O'Connell, M. (8/7/2015). The Research Needs of All of Us: Bridging Scarcity with Collaborative Praxis. Feminist Theory and Music XIII. Madison, WI.
Boresow, E., Dvorak, A., Heffner Hayes, M., & Tucker, S. (6/7/2015). AUMI-KU InterArts. Improvisation and Community Health. Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Hairston-O'Connell, M., & Tucker, S. (11/9/2014). Revisiting Central Avenue through Melba Liston’s Oral Histories. American Studies Association. Los Angeles, California
Tucker, S. (11/14/2014). Writing on a Crowded Dance Floor: a Multi-perspectival Approach to Raced and Gendered Bodies in Co-Motion at the Hollywood Canteen (1942-1945). National Women's Studies Association. San Juan, Puerto Rico
Mizumura-Pence, R., & Tucker, S. (7/10/2014). Four Rehearsals and a Performance: Practice Based Research at AUMI-KU InterArts. Deep Listening Art/Science Conference. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York
Tucker, S. (4/4/2014). Dance Floor Democracy: The Social Geography of Memory at the Hollywood Canteen. Music Department, American Culture Department, and Center for the Humanities. Washington University, St. Louis
Tucker, S., Wong, D., & Gonzales, M. (4/26/2014). Improvising New Communities with Bodies in Motion Roundtable. Pop Conference. Experience Music Project, Seattle, WA
Tucker, S. (2/22/2014). Not the Whole Story(ville): Learning from New Orleans Jazzwomen. Carolina Jazz Festival. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
Tucker, S. (3/13/2013). Not the Whole Story(ville): Learning from New Orleans Jazzwomen. Sylvia Frey Lecture, New Orleans Center for the Gulf South. Tulane University, New Orleans, LA

Selected Grants

Improvising across Abilities: Pauline Oliveros and the Adaptive Use Musical Instrument. University of Kansas. $5989.00. (7/1/2018 - 6/30/2019). The GRF supports a significant new phase of a long-term project, as it moves from far-flung research community to book proposal and manuscript. Improvising across Abilities: Pauline Oliveros and the Adaptive Use Musical Instrument is a collaborative volume incorporating insights on inclusivity and democratic praxis from a diverse international group of researchers, musicians (professional and amateur), occupational and music therapists, technologists, students, and teachers, with and without disabilities, who have coalesced around a musical instrument that facilitates musical improvisation among people of all abilities. The AUMI was developed by composer, improviser, humanitarian, Pauline Oliveros (1932-2016) as part of her life’s work in “expanding the improvising community. ” The book will collect and interconnect the findings from a vast network of AUMI improvisation and research sites internationally. Research in Lawrence, Kansas; St. Johns Newfoundland; Poughkeepsie, New York; Montreal, Quebec; and Santiago, Chile suggest that AUMI improvisation may reduce community isolation, facilitate new social relations, and facilitate modes of all-ability sociality with exciting implications for community integration and adaptive aesthetics for new forms of cultural interaction. Improvising across Abilities is a book-length collaborative volume that will be shaped by its contributors, much as AUMI improvisation is shaped by movements of every body of every person who plays it. As AUMI improvisers are well aware, the app/interface uses camera tracking to follow body movements--small, large, wide, narrow, fast, slow--in order to trigger sounds from hundreds of possibilities. I will engage longtime collaborators in an interactive writing process designed to sustain multi-vocal and transdisciplinary perspectives, and convey significant implications of our methods and findings to others. This is not a monograph, nor a conventional edited volume, but a mixed-genre, creative, possibly interactive, form that animates the uniquely adaptive research process across many differences that continues to be such a crucial part of the AUMI Project.. University (KU or KUMC). Status: Funded
Improvising Inclusive Communities with the Adaptive Use Musical Instrument. National Endowment for the Arts - Art Works Grant (Presenting and Multidisciplinary Works). $35000.00. Submitted 11/17/2016 (1/1/2017 - 12/31/2017). Federal. Status: Funded
Improvising Inclusive Communities: From the Adaptive Use Musical Instrument to the Center for Improvisation Studies. The Commons, University of Kansas. $9886.00. Submitted 4/29/2016 (1/1/2016 - 12/31/2017). University (KU or KUMC). Status: Funded

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  • Congratulations to Bobby Cervantes for being awarded the Harry Middleton Fellowship in Presidential Studies!
  • Read about Afro-Puerto Rican illustrator Eric Velasquez in this piece written by William García-Medina for Teaching For Change.
  • Geoffrey Newman did a podcast for the journal Kansas History that was broadcast on 91.9 KSDB-FM.  It is available online here.
  • Congratulations to Sam Steuart for being named KU's 20th Truman scholar!
  • This article, written by Geoffrey Newman, was published in the August edition of the Kansas History Journal. Congratulations Geoffrey!
  • Congratulations to Ph.D. candidate Kathryn Vaggalis for being awarded the American Studies Association's 2018 Gene Wise-Warren Susman Prize!
  • KU-AUMI InterArts was recently featured by the Commons in a video on improving inclusive communities at KU. You can watch the video, which features our own Sherrie Tucker amongst other founders of the movement at KU, and learn more about AUMI here!
  • Congratulations to Professor Robert Warrior on being elected to a member of the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
  • This articlewritten by Ph.D. candidate Hannah Bailey, was published in the latest edition of Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Congratulations, Hannah!
  • We would like to recognize Patrick Sumner, 2005 alumni, for his work in this article about the defacement of the John Brown memorial in the Quindaro area of Kansas City, Kansas.
  • Please read this article about Professor Robert Warrior titled: Native scholar uncomfortably at home in American studies field.
  • Congratulations to Daniel Carey-Whalen, an alumni that was recently promoted as UTEP's Centennial Museum director.
  • Congratulations to Josh Parshall, an alumni who was recently featured in this article.
  • How a motion-tracking musical software is breaking down barriers for people with disabilities: click here to read more about the Adaptive Use Musical Instrument (AUMI), a one-of-a-kind piece of inclusive technology that promotes musical improvisation. The article recognizes Professor Sherrie Tucker, who started AUMI jam sessions and helped to bring the grant and symposium for it to Lawrence. Written by Omar Sanchez
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