Christiana Stephenson ’11

Christiana is graduating with an A.B. in Music, with a focus in Ethnomusicology. Last fall, she completed an independent study project with Professor Dana Gooley on the use of popular music in American political campaigns, combining her academic interest in American pop music with a deep love of politics. Christie has also done extensive research on the American musical theater tradition, most recently focusing on the musical In the Heights and the history and legacy of African-American musical theater in the United States. In addition to her studies in the music department, she has also completed significant coursework in International Relations and Public Policy.

Abstract: During the 2008 Presidential election, Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” took on new life as the anthem of Barack Obama’s campaign. Similarly, then-Senator Hillary Clinton received much press for the selection of songs played at her rallies and campaign events. This paper explores the effectiveness of each campaign’s use of popular music, relying on detailed musical analysis of key songs and existing scholarship on affect, judgment, and campaign strategy.

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