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Dr. Christa Bentley

Dr. Christa Bentley

Dr. Christa Bentley,
Associate Professor of Musicology
School of Music


Dr. Christa Anne Bentley is an Assistant Professor of Musicology at Oklahoma City University where she teaches courses in music history and culture.

Bentley’s primary research focuses on the politics of popular music in the United States with a particular interest in the intersection between folk music and popular song. She is currently working on a monograph that examines how political songs function in the private sphere, exploring the legacy of protest music after the Civil Rights Era within the 1970s singer-songwriter movement. Her work investigates how singer-songwriters provided a new language of musical protest that intersected with 1970s social movements—including the women’s movement, anti-Vietnam War protests, environmentalism, and black freedom—arguing that within the context of the Nixon Era, the singer-songwriter’s confessional songs emerged as a highly politicized form of communication. This project has led to a published chapter in the Cambridge Companion to the Singer-Songwriter (2016) and a collaboration with the Grammy Museum, California Dreamin’: The Sounds of Laurel Canyon (2014). Her research has been supported by Harvard University’s Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, the Association for Recorded Sound Collections, the Department of American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and UNC’s Royster Society of Fellows.

Bentley graduated from Texas Christian University and went on to complete her MA and PhD in Musicology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before moving to Oklahoma, she taught at Georgia State University in Atlanta and the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. She previously worked with Yep Roc Records and with the presenting organization, The Bluegrass Situation, and enjoys using her research to engage fan communities.

Selected Publications

“Poet-Composers: Art and Legitimacy in the Singer-Songwriter Movement” in the Routledge Companion to Popular Music Analysis: Expanding Approaches, eds. Ciro Scotto, Kenneth Smith, and John Brackett. New York: Routledge (forthcoming).

“‘A Place Where He Can Check in on His Own Validity’: Forging the Singer-Songwriter at the Los Angeles Troubadour” in the Cambridge Companion to the Singer-Songwriter, eds. Justin Williams and Katherine Williams. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016.

Contact Information

FA 320
Bass Center
Oklahoma City, OK 73106