Rachel Tollett is a Ph.D. Candidate, ABD at Northwestern University in Ethno/Musicology, and a specialist in late-20th century Soviet musical culture and current political and cultural interactions in the Russian Federation. Her dissertation, entitled Sounding Narratives, Stereotyping Enemies, and Forming Soviet Citizens: An Examination of the American “Other” in Soviet Film, Television, and Cartoon Music: 1953-2008, examines the use of jazz and rock music associated with American characters in Soviet films and cartoons and interrogates how these films acted to form images, sounds and stereotypes of American in the minds of Soviet audiences. Furthermore, Tollett questions the role of performers and composers as creators of music both formally banned and popularly fetishized. She hopes to eventually add more ethnographic interviews to this project and publish it as a book.
In addition to work on later Soviet culture, Tollett continues to pursue an active interest in the Russian punk feminist collective Pussy Riot, and she recent presented preliminary research on this topic at the International Association for Popular Music Studies in Gijon, Spain. Currently under contract with Oxford University Press, Tollett is completing teaching materials to accompany Robin Wallace's forthcoming music appreciation text, Take Note. Her other research interests include East German composer Hans Eisler, Prokofiev's Firey Angel, Chechen war songs, 19th-20th century Russian opera, and early music performance practices for harpsichord and voice.
Dedicated to a through consideration of international affairs in all her research, historical and ethnographic, Tollett is also an affiliate of the Buffet Center for International and Comparative Studies and received their Preliminary Fieldwork Grant in 2009 to conduct interviews with Chechen singer Liza Umarova.
- Write/Speak Music
- Music History