Kay Kaufman Shelemay is the G. Gordon Watts Professor of Music at Harvard University. As an ethnomusicologist, she has studied music, musicians, and migration in Africa, the Middle East, and the urban United States.
She is the author of the textbook Soundscapes. Exploring Music in a Changing World, now in its 3rd edition from W.W. Norton, among several other works. Kay is past president of the Society for Ethnomusicology and a former Congressional appointee to and chair of the Board of Trustees of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, as well as an elected member of several other academic organizations. She held the chair for Modern Culture at the Library of Congress (2007- 2008) and was the national Phi Beta Kappa/Frank M. Updike Memorial Scholar (2010-2011). She has been awarded major national fellowships, including from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Stanford Humanities Center, and the Radcliffe Institute.