Braxton D. Shelley is the Stanley A. Marks and William H. Marks Assistant Professor at the Radcliffe Institute and an assistant professor of music in the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Shelley specializes in African American popular music with research and critical interests that extend into media studies, sound studies, phenomenology, homiletics, and theology. His recent article “Analyzing Gospel,” in the Journal of the American Musicological Society, and his in-progress book manuscript, “Sermons in Song: Richard Smallwood, the Vamp, and the Gospel Imagination,” construct a theory of the black gospel tradition.
At Radcliffe, he is undertaking research on black religious digital cultures—a project that is tentatively titled “Going Live! Music, Media, and the Technologies of Black Ecstasy.”
Shelley completed a PhD in the history and theory of music and a master of divinity at the University of Chicago. He earned a BA in music and history from Duke University. He received the 2016 Paul A. Pisk Prize from the American Musicological Society, the 2016 Graduate Student Prize from the Society for Christian Scholarship in Music, and the 2018 Dean’s Distinguished Dissertation Award from the University of Chicago Division of the Humanities.