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Jonathan Glasser '98 explores North African performance practices

February 13, 2018

I am an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at William & Mary, and a member of the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Program. My research has focused on North African performance practices--both musical and poetic--that are said to have their roots in al-Andalus, medieval Muslim Spain. My first book, The Lost Paradise: Andalusi Music in Urban North Africa (University of Chicago Press, 2016), uses archival and ethnographic research to explore the dynamics of urban musical revival in Algeria and Morocco since the turn of the twentieth century. This book recently won the Mahmoud Guettat International Prize in Musicology (2nd place) from the Tunisian Ministry of Cultural Affairs, as well as the L. Carl Brown Book Prize from the American Institute for Maghrib Studies.

I graduated from Cornell in 1998, and was an NES major and part of the College Scholars Program. NES was a very hospitable and intellectually stimulating place for me. I am often struck by how much of what I am doing now is indebted to the courses and conversations I participated in there, whether it is at the level of language skills, concepts, or even course books that I thankfully kept! Most of all, however, it is a certain sensibility that has lingered with me, and that I try to bring to the classroom when I teach, as well as to the page when I write: a combination of rigor, fairness, curiosity, and imagination.

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