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Karen Chandler

College of Charleston
Associate Professor Emerita
Charleston, SC

Dr. Karen Chandler is Associate Professor Emerita in the Arts Management Program at the College of Charleston. Since 1999, she has taught in its undergraduate and graduate programs and has also served as director of both programs for several years during her tenure. She received her B.S. degree in Music Education from Hampton University in Virginia, a M.A. in Music Education from Columbia University-Teachers College and a Ph.D. in Studies in Arts and Humanities from New York University in New York City. 

A classically-trained pianist, she is also Co-Founder/Principal of the Charleston Jazz Initiative (CJI) that documents the history of South Carolina musicians who contributed to jazz in America and Europe. With a National Endowment for the Arts grant, she served as Executive Producer of LEGENDS (2011), a CD of songs by musicians the initiative is studying. In 2012, she was awarded the South Carolina Governor’s Award in the Humanities for her leadership and research with the Charleston Jazz Initiative. 

Chandler has formerly served as director of the College of Charleston's Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, director of the University of Virginia's African-American Cultural Center, and as an Assistant Professor of the graduate program in Arts Management at American University in Washington, DC. She has served as a grant reviewer with South Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and with many local and state arts councils and foundations throughout the country. 

Among her most recent publications are “Bin Yah (Been Here): Africanisms and Jazz Influences in Gullah Culture” in Jazz @ 100: An Alternative to a Story of Heroes, W. Knauer, ed. (Frankfurt: WolkeVerlag); “Uniquely Gullah: Africanisms in Jazz” in Arts Management, Cultural Policy, and the African Diaspora, A. Cuyler, ed.; and “Prelude to Gershwin: Edmund Thornton Jenkins” in Porgy and Bess: A Charleston Story, H. Greene, ed.