Areas of specialization
Exchange, historical anthropology, music, poetics and performance, colonialism, textuality, culture theory; North Africa and the Middle East
My current research focuses on questions of musical transmission and social reproduction in colonial and postcolonial North Africa. The focus of my recent publications and writing projects is a living urban musical tradition in Algeria and Morocco whose practitioners trace it to al-Andalus, medieval Muslim Iberia. This tradition underwent a major revival in the early years of the twentieth century; one key area of interest for me is the way that genealogical forms of authority and transmission have interfaced with a variety of new social institutions, technologies, and ideologies. The hoarding of musical repertoire is a major part of this story, as are the changes associated with the colonial experience and the decolonization process. I see this project as a contribution to vibrant debates in North Africa and beyond regarding the notion of rupture and tradition, and likewise as a contribution to anthropological debates concerning circulation, place, temporality, the materiality of expressive forms, and theories of value.