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Andrew Berish

Associate Professor
Humanities and Cultural Studies Department

Email: aberish at usf.edu

Listen to my recent interview with Matt Smith-Lahrman on the New Books in Popular Music Website.

I am an Associate Professor in the Humanities and Cultural Studies Department at the University of South Florida (Tampa). My Ph.D. is in Musicology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and my current research focuses on the relationship between musical expression and the social experience of space and place.

My recent book, Lonesome Roads and Streets of Dreams: Place, Mobility, and Race in Jazz of the 1930s and ’40s (University of Chicago Press, 2012), examines the ways swing-era jazz represented the geographic and demographic transformations of American life during the Great Depression and Second World War. I have also published on jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt (Jazz Perspectives) and his place in jazz history and musical practice. An essay on Duke Ellington in the 1930s will appear in The Cambridge Companion to Duke Ellington, and another essay on Ellington and his relationship to Tin Pan Alley will appear in Duke Ellington and His World (Princeton University Press).

Currently, I am working on a study of Tin Pan Alley song during the Depression and Second World War. Can the sounds of popular song provide scholars with new historical information and perspectives on this era? Previous studies of Tin Pan Alley of this era have focused heavily on the "classic" songs and songwriters of this Golden Age of the American Songbook: George and Ira Gerswhin, Richard Rogers, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, among many others. I want to substantially expand the number and kinds of songs considered, to embrace traditionally discarded songs such as "sweet" sentimental ballads and "corny" novelty tunes. Looking broadly at the popular song of the era, I believe, allows us to see some new and different patterns in American cultural life, especially ones that trace out tensions in American attitudes toward emotional expression in daily life.

At USF I teach courses on American life of the 1930s and ’40s, jazz and civil rights, the analysis of popular music, and the role of place and mobility in American historical experience.

Curriculum Vitae


    Lonesome Roads and Streets of Dreams: Place, Mobility, and Race in Jazz of the 1930s and '40s. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012.      

“Leisure, Love, and Dreams in Depression America: Duke Ellington and Tin Pan Alley Song” in Duke Ellington and His World, ed. John Howland. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Forthcoming 2013.

    “Space is Our Place: Trenton Doyle Hancock and Sun Ra,” Trenton Doyle Hancock: We Done All We Could And None of It’s Good, Tampa, FL: USF Contemporary Art Museum. Forthcoming.      

“Music and the Great Depression,” and “Charlie Barnet,” in The Grove Dictionary of American Music, Second Edition, Charles Garrett, editor-in-chief. Oxford University Press. Forthcoming.


“Duke Ellington in the 1930s,” in the Cambridge Companion to Duke Ellington, ed. Edward Green. Forthcoming. Cambridge University Press.


“Negotiating ‘A Blues Riff’: Listening for Django Reinhardt’s place in American Jazz,” Jazz Perspectives 3, no. 3, Routledge/Taylor & Francis (2009): 233-264.


“ ‘I Dream of Her and Avalon’: 1930s Sweet Jazz, Race and Nostalgia at the Casino Ballroom,” Journal of the Society for American Music 2, no. 4, Cambridge University Press (November 2008): 531-567.


Book Review in Music and Letters 84, no. 4 Oxford University Press (November 2003). A double review of Susan Fast's Houses of the Holy: Led Zeppelin and the Power of Rock Music and Steve Waksman's Instruments of Desire: The Electric Guitar and the Shaping of Musical Experience.