American Studies

Jessica Gresham - Twentieth Century American Culture

Jessica graduated with honors in 2009, and she currently works as a Veterinary Assistant at the San Francisco SPCA.

Area of Concentration Courses

American Studies 110: The History, Politics, and Landscape of Consumer Society
African American Studies 142AC: Race and American Film
Film 123: 1950s Film and Propaganda
Australian Studies: Australia and America
Letters and Science 180C: Social and Behavioral Science
Sociology 125: Urban Sociology


Jessica Gresham : - "The Female Shape of Jazz" (Class of 2009)

The importance of women in jazz has been a severely neglected topic, despite active female participation throughout the genre’s history. To examine this, Jessica Gresham’s honors thesis underscores the importance of African American female instrumentalists throughout the early developments of jazz. Using Mary Lou Williams as an archetype, Jessica traces both music and event histories from blues up to the evolution of jazz fusion in the 1970s. The primary sources consist of original music recordings of the women examined, deconstructing them within a historical context. Combining both a music and event historyas well as personal event history of the artists mentionedthe combination of sources and insight reveal the historical and musical importance of African American female instrumentalists in jazz.

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