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Dan Cornfield

2017-2018 Curb Faculty Fellow in Arts Policy

Dan Cornfield is Professor of Sociology, Political Science, and American Studies at Vanderbilt University, Editor-in-Chief of Work and Occupations, and a Fellow of the Labor and Employment Relations Association. His work on artist careers, labor, civil rights, and immigration addresses the formation of inclusive and expressive occupational communities and their impact on cultural pluralism.  During his Fellowship year at the Curb Center, Dan and a team of sociology graduate students will examine the role of local arts agencies in promoting cultural equity and community engagement in the arts in the U.S.

His Beyond the Beat: Musicians Building Community in Nashville (Princeton University Press)  addresses how indie musicians strengthen their inclusive and diversifying peer community of artists in the contemporary era of the gig economy and heightened identity politics, based on his in-depth interviews with 75 Nashville popular-music musicians.   Dan’s work has been widely published in social science journals, including the American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, and the ILR Review Among his books are Becoming a Mighty Voice (Russell Sage Foundation) and Worlds of Work (Springer), co-edited with Randy Hodson.   He has chaired the Metropolitan Nashville Human Relations Commission, advised WNPT (Nashville public television) in the production of its Emmy Award-winning documentary series on Nashville immigrants “Next Door Neighbors,” and presently advises the Future of Music Coalition on its artist revenue streams project and the National Endowment of the Arts on its research lab initiative, “The Arts, Creativity, Cognition and Learning.”

Dan earned his BA (1974), MA (1977), and PhD (1980) all in sociology from the University of Chicago.