The Politics of Music(ology) in the Maghrib

Episode 172

The Politics of Music(ology) in the Maghrib

In this episode, historian Liz Matsushita discusses the ideas, institutions, and technologies that informed the study and categorization of different North African music genres during the colonial and independence periods. What would have been considered music? Who was interested in studying North African musical genres and why? Matsushita describes how concepts of modernity, authenticity, and race shaped musicology and musical practice across Maghrebi societies and considers the extent to which these concepts still hold sway today.

Liz Matsushita is a historian of modern North Africa and is currently Visiting Assistant Professor of History and Humanities at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. She previously taught at Claremont McKenna College and earned her PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2021. Her research examines the history of music and musicology in colonial and post-colonial Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, and the ways in which music served as a political idiom that shaped French and Maghrebi understandings of race and power.

This episode was recorded via Zoom on the 10th of May, 2023 by the Centre d'Études Maghrébines à Tunis (CEMAT

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We thank our friend Ignacio Villalón, AIMS contemporary art follow for his guitar performance for the introduction and conclusion of this podcast. 

Posted by Hayet Lansari, Librarian, Outreach Coordinator, Content Curator (CEMA).

Suggested Bibliography

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Calderwood, Eric. (2018). Colonial al-Andalus: Spain and the Making of Modern Moroccan Culture. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.


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