NC Jukebox: History and Music

Trudi Abel
LS 780-96
Summer 2016
Wednesdays, 6:00-9:00

*New Course*

Nearly 97 years ago and into the 1930s, Frank C. Brown, a Duke scholar, began recording North Carolina folk music and archiving it for posterity.  NC Jukebox will give students the chance to explore the cultural history of North Carolina and the South past through analog and digital archival material through the digitized recordings in the Frank Brown Collection at the Rubenstein Rare Book and Special Collections Library.

Through analyzing digitized historical materials—both texts and vintage audio--and researching in local collections, students will create new interpretations of North Carolina’s cultural history and present these to a wider public through new media. The course will integrate readings in folklore, history, and ethnomusicology. No prior technology experience is expected.

Course participants will submit weekly responses to the readings on our course blog, contribute to class discussions, develop an introductory assignment on a primary source (e.g. a song/singer from the Frank Brown Collection), a research project proposal, and create a final research project/paper with a new media component.  There will be an optional field trip to The Orchards at Altapass (


About Trudi Abel
Duke University Libraries

Trudi Abel is a cultural historian and Rubenstein Library archivist at Duke who created the Digital Durham (, a web repository for primary sources relating to Durham from the post-Civil War decades to the present. Currently, Dr. Abel co-directs the NC Jukebox Project with Victoria Szabo (AAHVS). Over the past decade, Dr. Abel has taught Consumer Culture in America and Digital Durham and the New South for the MALS Program. In the summer of 2016, she will offer NC Jukebox, a cross-disciplinary course in which students use new technologies and digitized audio recordings to create fresh interpretation of the history of North Carolina and its roots music.