ArticleNo. 99-100, Spring 2017

Editor’s Note

Welcome to this special issue of Current Musicology on the theme of Black Sound Studies. I’d like to offer my personal thanks to all of our contributors, who offer fresh perspectives at the crossroads of critical race theory and sound studies. I’d also like to thank Current Musicology editor Tom Wetmore and reviews editor Will Mason for their generous efforts, as well as their abilities to cohere multiple perspectives.

This issue has proved decisively interdisciplinary, as black studies scholars, anthropologists, activists, media scholars, and practicing artists jostle musicologists and ethnomusicologists. Taking its title from performance scholar Tavia Nyong’o[1], this double issue brings together eight articles/conversations and three book reviews to collectively challenge the racialization of sonic culture, technology, and society.

Current Musicology is at a critical inflection point. Following calls to interrogate its political investments, the journal increasingly works to reveal structures of power at the heart of music studies, and in the West, more generally. Future researchers and practitioners in the field may engage and build upon the authors in this special issue, through, for example: turning to the acoustic and technological as key modalities for thinking through the place of race and ethnicity in everyday life; artistically blurring the boundaries of academic writing and representation; amplifying activist and cultural worker voices; engaging geopolitical perspectives beyond the United States and Europe; and partnering with larger interdisciplinary discussions that migrate ideas from sound and music to nonsonic domains.

It is our hope that this issue helps raise the stakes and consequence of anti-racist scholarship. Through these writings may we gain greater coherence not only on what it might mean to “decolonize” music studies, media studies, and the academy at-large, but also how such anti-racist work might sound and feel in practice.

Didier Sylvain

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[1] Nyong’o, Tavia. 2014. “Afro-philo-sonic Fictions: Black Sound Studies after the Millennium.” Small Axe 18 (2 (44)): 173-179.