Black Feminism and the Sonic Archive


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Black Feminism and the Sonic Archive

The third in our series celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Barbara T. Christian features two of her former students sharing their groundbreaking work on Black sound, Black archives and Black feminist thought.


Daphne A. Brooks is William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of African American Studies, American Studies, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and Music at Yale University. She is the author of Bodies in Dissent:  Spectacular Performances of Race and Freedom, 1850-1910, winner of The Errol Hill Award for Outstanding Scholarship on African American Performance from ASTR; Jeff Buckley’s Grace and Liner Notes for the Revolution: The Intellectual Life of Black Feminist Sound

She is also the author of the liner notes for The Complete Tammi Terrell and Take a Look: Aretha Franklin Complete on Columbia, each of which has won the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for outstanding music writing, and her liner notes essay for Prince’s Sign O’ The Times deluxe box set was published in fall of 2020. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Nation, The Guardian, and other press outlets.

Carter Mathes (Associate Professor of English, Rutgers University) is a specialist in African American Literature, Twentieth Century Literature, and African Diaspora Studies. His first book, Imagine the Sound: Experimental African American Literature After Civil Rights focuses on the relationship between sound and literary innovation during the 1960s and 1970s.  Currently, he is working on a second book, Ecologies of Funk, that examines formations of black radical thought in literature and music as they move between Jamaica and New Orleans during the second half of the twentieth-century. He has published essays in venues including Small Axe, Contemporary Literature, Callaloo, and African American Review, and has articles and chapters in progress and forthcoming on jazz in the civil rights movement, dub music within contemporary Jamaican literary aesthetics, and afrofuturism in low-fi hip hop production.