Dr Matthew D. Morrison: "Blacksound"

Event date: 
Wednesday 8 December
A picture of Dr Matthew D. Morrison

An IASH Work-in-Progress seminar, delivered by Dr Matthew D. Morrison (American Council of Learned Societies Fellow 2021; New York University):



This talk will introduce the concept of Blacksound and how it took shape in the U.S. and UK during and after slavery, as well as its impact upon the making of popular music, its industry, as well as identity and race relations. Blacksound is developed by Morrison as the sonic complement to blackface minstrelsy, and as blackface was the first original form of popular entertainment to develop in the United States and travel almost immediately to the United Kingdom, he will consider its impact, aesthetically and structurally, within the continued development of popular music and the construction of racial identity. Specific examples of blackface performance and its legacy both within the U.S. and the UK will be given close consideration. This talk is drawn from Morrison's book in progress, Blacksound: Making Race and Popular Music in the United States under contract with the University of California Press.


Matthew D. Morrison, a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, is an Assistant Professor in the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Matthew holds a Ph.D. in Musicology from Columbia University, an. M.A. in Musicology from The Catholic University of America, and was a Presidential music scholar at Morehouse College, where he studied violin and conducting. Matthew has been an associated research fellow with the Modern Moves research project at King’s College, London, funded by the European Research Council Advanced Grant, and has held fellowships from the American Academy of Learned Societies, the American Musicological Society, Mellon Foundation, the Library of Congress, the Tanglewood Music Center, and the Center for Popular Music Studies/Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In addition to having served as Editor in Chief of Current Musicology, his published work has appeared in publications such as the Journal of the American Musicological Society, Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory, the Grove Dictionary of American Music, Oxford Handbooks, art forums/publications, and on Oxford University Press's online music blog. He also contributes creatively as a dramaturg and artistic consultant within the arts.

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