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People  •  Music  •  Assistant Professor

Francesca Inglese

Affiliate Professor of Cultures, Societies, and Global Studies and Coordinator of BA in Music, Music Minor, Ethnomusicology Minor

Francesca Inglese (she/her) is an ethnographer, musician, and teacher. Her research focuses on music and race; sound and urban spatial politics; listening as a critical cultural practice; and the global circulation of African Diasporic music. She is interested in understanding the ways in which music-making and listening shape affective experiences of subjectivity, sociality, and place.

Her current ethnographic book project explores the role popular musicking plays in negotiating race, space, and value in contemporary South Africa. It centers the experiences of members of Cape Town’s numerous Kaapse klopse (“Clubs of the Cape”), multigenerational parading music social clubs that have their roots in the music of the Cape’s heterogenous slave population, American blackface minstrelsy, and globally circulating popular music. The dissertation (2016, Brown University), on which her book is based, received the Joukowsky Outstanding Dissertation Prize in the Humanities. Related articles address the intersection of motherhood, social activism, and respectability politics in klopse education initiatives (Women & Music); the re-appropriation of racialized urban space through sound and embodied practice in the annual Minstrel Carnival (African Music); and racialized listening in cover song performance.

Her current research addresses African American violinists/fiddlers and the intersection of objects & instruments, race, and sound.

In a past life, she has written on the outsider world of the American song-poem industry (Journal of the Society for American Music).

Her research and writing have been supported by the Mellon Foundation, the American Association of University Women, the Society for Ethnomusicology, the Ruth Landes Memorial Research Fund, the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women at Brown University, and International Affairs at Brown University. Her work has been published in the Journal of the Society of American Music, Women & Music, and African Music, amongst others. As a violinist she has studied, taught, and performed a diverse array of repertoire, including Baroque, jazz, bluegrass, and carnatic music in India, Scotland, Iceland, and the United States.

She completed a PhD in ethnomusicology at Brown University and holds a BA in music composition from Vassar College as well as a certificate in carnatic violin performance and theory from Brhaddhvani: Research and Training Centre for Musics of the World in Chennai, India. Before coming to Northeastern, she taught at Dartmouth College and Brown University.




  • PhD, Brown University
  • MA, University of Toronto
  • BA, Vassar College


  • 2016 Joukowsky Family Foundation Outstanding Dissertation Award
  • 2014 American Dissertation Fellowship, American Association of University Women
  • 2013 Society for Ethnomusicology 21st Century Fellowship
  • 2013 Ruth Landes Memorial Research Fund Grant

Research Focus

  • African Diasporic Music and Dance
  • Ethnographic Methods and Ethics
  • Cultural Politics
  • Cities Spaces Mobility and Globalization
  • Music & Race
  • Listening practices

Courses Taught

  • Music & the Racial Imagination
  • American Roots Music
  • Musical Communities of Boston
  • Topics in Global Music Cultures
  • Jazz — Culture, History, Practice

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