About

Lucy Caplan 2017I write about music, history, and culture, both as a scholar and as a critic. I am a Lecturer on History and Literature at Harvard University. I’m also an Associate Lecturer in American Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

I received a Ph.D. in American Studies and African American Studies from Yale University in 2019. While at Yale, I also earned a master’s concentration in Public Humanities. My dissertation, “High Culture on the Lower Frequencies: African Americans and Opera, 1900-1933,” argued that early-twentieth-century African Americans redefined the genre of opera as a wellspring of antiracist activism, collective sociality, and aesthetic innovation. Exploring the work of performers, composers, critics, pedagogues, and students, I showed how black artists transformed opera into a rich vein of lived experience under Jim Crow, an aesthetic endeavor that powerfully expanded the parameters of black cultural production by facilitating new modes of self-making and world-making.

I also write frequently for public audiences. For example, I’ve written for Boston Lyric Opera about feminist dystopias, for The New Yorker about the New Orleans company OperaCréole, and for National Sawdust Log about making music in the midst of political crisis. In 2016, I received the Rubin Prize for Music Criticism.

You can reach me at lucy dot caplan at yale dot edu or lucymcaplan at gmail dot com.