Elliott H Powell
I am an interdisciplinary scholar of U.S. popular music, race, sexuality, and politics. I received my Ph.D. in American Studies from New York University, and my B.A. in History from the University of Chicago. Prior to joining the University of Minnesota, I was a Postdoctoral Fellow and Faculty Associate at the Frederick Douglas Institute for African and African-American Studies and the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Rochester, respectively. I have been the recipient of several national fellowships and awards from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, Ford Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Social Science Research Council. And my work has also been recognized by the International Association for the Study of Popular Music. My work is primarily concerned with African American and South Asian (American) intercultural music-making endeavors during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and the ways in which these music-centered collaborative efforts articulate with larger socio-political formations and the complex and historically situated processes of identity formation. I am currently at work on a book manuscript, Sounds from the Other Side: Afro-South Asian Collaborations in Black Popular Music (University of Minnesota Press, November 2020), which brings together critical race, feminist, and queer theories to consider the political implications of African American and South Asian collaborative music-making practices in jazz during the 1960s and 1970s and hip hop since the 1980s. In particular, the project investigates these cross-cultural exchanges in relation to larger global and domestic sociohistorical junctures that linked African American and South Asian diasporic communities, and argues that these Afro-South Asian cultural productions constitute dynamic, complex, and at times contradictory sites of comparative racialization, transformative gender and queer politics, and anti-imperial political alliances. I'm also at work on two other book projects. The first is tentatively titled Prince, Porn, and Public Sex, which explores the politics of sex(uality) and music in Minneapolis during the 1980s. And the second is tentatively titled Illegitimate Sounds, which explores the queer potentiality of recordings like demos that do not conform to commercial audio legibility. Writings from these research areas are published in GLQ, philoSOPHIA: A Journal of Continental Feminism, The Oxford Handbook of Hip Hop Studies, The Jazz Research Journal, and The Black Scholar (where I co-edited TBS' first queer and/or trans special issue).