Tekla Babyak received her PhD in musicology from Cornell University in 2014, supported by a Mellon Fellowship in Humanistic Studies and a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship. She is currently an independent musicologist and disability activist based in Davis, CA. Her disabling condition, multiple sclerosis, has prevented her from finding stable employment in the ableist workforce.
Her work falls broadly into two categories: disability activism in the academic humanities, and research on 19th-century musical aesthetics. As described in her Current Musicology
article, “My Intersecting Quests as a Disabled Independent Scholar
,” her activist work combines practical and philosophical ideas about how to uplift disabled voices in academia. Her activism also involves her participation in activities from which disabled independent scholars are often excluded. These activities include giving guest lectures in university humanities courses, contributing to edited collections such as Rethinking Brahms
(published by OUP), and chairing panels for the Goethe Society of North America. She also serves as a consultant to help university presses develop disability accommodation policies for authors.
Tekla is an interdisciplinary scholar whose research focuses on 19th-century German and French music, literature, and philosophy. Her publications have appeared or will soon appear in Journal of the Royal Musical Association
; Bibliotheca Dantesca
; Current Musicology
; Historians Without Borders: New Studies in Multidisciplinary History
and Rethinking Brahms
(forthcoming from Oxford University Press).
In addition to her research and activism, Tekla also enjoys translating German and French texts into English, particularly texts about music, philosophy, and critical theory. In everything that she does, she brings an activist-oriented perspective to her projects. A central goal of hers is to show that a disabled independent scholar can make a meaningful contribution to research and social justice.