Mr. Benjamin Krakauer
Specialization: Ethnomusicology
Home institution in US: University of Texas, Austin
Host Institution in India: Rabindra Bharti University, Kolkata, West Bengal  
Start date/Month in India: September 2012
Duration of grant: 9 months

Brief Bio:
Mr. Ben Krakauer is currently a Ph.D. candidate in ethnomusicology from the University of Texas (UT), Austin . He completed his M.A. in ethnomusicology from Tufts University, Massachusetts in 2010, and his B.A. from University of Virginia, where he received the Brander Wyatt Morrison Prize for Outstanding Undergraduate Contribution. He has published three book reviews in the Journal of the Society for Asian Music, and one CD review in the Journal of the Society for African Music. This year, he has presented academic papers at conferences including the Society for Ethnomusicology national conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Rabindranath Tagore and the Bauls conference at Viswa-Bharati University in Santiniketan, West Bengal; and the South Asia by the Bay conference at Stanford University in Stanford, California. He has two semesters of experience as an assistant instructor at UT Austin and five semesters of experience as a teaching assistant at UT Austin and Tufts University. In 2012, he was selected as a participant in the Center for Teaching and Learning Graduate Teaching Scholars Seminar at UT Austin. In 2011, he was awarded the Bluegrass Scholarship Prize by the International Bluegrass Music Association for Best Conference Paper by a Graduate Student or Successful M.A./Ph.D. Candidate. He has taught private musical instruction on banjo and guitar for over ten years and served as adjunct music performance faculty at University of Virginia and Tufts University. He has performed on over twenty professional recordings, including productions by Acoustic Disc, CMH Records, the Fiddle Masters DVD series, and the award-winning 2009 documentary The Mosque in Morgantown.

Mr. Krakauer’s Fulbright research project, “The Effects of Cosmopolitan Patronage on Performers of Baul music in West Bengal, India,” addresses how the influx of cosmopolitan patrons both positively and negatively affects the lives of Baul performers, a group of religious mendicants known for their songs, egalitarian ideology and itinerant lifestyle. In recent decades, thanks to the patronage of the Bengali cultural elite and foreign tourists, many Baul musicians have found professional opportunities in Indian cities and abroad, earning a living through contractual arrangements instead of the traditional practice of begging for alms. Mr. Krakauer’s Fulbright research also considers how Baul musical and performance styles have changed in response to cosmopolitan patronage.