Carmen Is Everywhere
C. M. Battey, [Theodore Drury as Escamillo in the opera Carmen], ca. 1905. Albert Davis/Opera Collection, box 7. Gift of the Hoblitzelle Foundation.
Jennifer M. Wilks is an associate professor of English, African and African Diaspora Studies, and comparative literature at The University of Texas at Austin. In this essay for the Ransom Center Magazine, Dr. Wilks discusses her research on the play Carmen, and its multiple resonances across the African diaspora. Dr. Wilks highlights how her research broadened and developed as she became more familiar with the many locations and people who were involved in the performance of this play -- including finding archival materials at her home institution of UT Austin at the Harry Ransom Center. Dr. Wilks demonstrates how research is a growing and lively process and how she came to write a book that spans multiple continents and centuries of Black performance and activism. This essay is part of the What is Research? series for the Ransom Center Magazine -- a collection of essays in which scholars from multiple disciplines share their experiences with doing interdisciplinary research, hoping to spark conversation between archival collections and larger communities outside of academia.
“While interdisciplinary inquiry is an endeavor that can be marked by frustrating delays, it is also one that can yield felicitous discoveries.” - Jennifer M. Wilks