I am a philosopher of popular music. My work focuses primarily on neoliberalism, technology, and contemporary Top 40 pop and electronic dance music. I study questions like: Why does Peloton categorize music by genre, and not by mood or activity like Spotify and Apple Music do? What does musical “independence” mean in the 2020s? Why is “chill” music or “lofi beats to study/relax to” popular now? What are the hidden consequences of using musical and sonic metaphors for black box algorithms?
I have published three books: The Sonic Episteme (Duke UP, 2019), Resilience & Melancholy: pop music, feminism, neoliberalism (Zer0, 2005), and The Conjectural Body: gender, race, and the philosophy of music (Lexington, 2010), and numerous articles in the academic and popular press. Some examples include this piece on the political philosophy of The Good Place, this one on critiques of “selling out” in contemporary electronic dance music scenes, and this scholarly article on feminist responses to #MeToo. I have written about musicians including: Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Paula Temple, Justin Bieber, James Chance, Peaches, Chicks On Speed, Nicki Minaj, Billie Eilish, LMFAO, Ludacris, Calvin Harris, and many more.
I am co-editing the Oxford Handbook of Electronic Dance Music with Luis-Manuel Garcia (University of Birmingham, UK), and have been the co-editor of The Journal of Popular Music Studies from 2019-2021. My current research focuses on the impacts of finance capitalism and its culture on popular music composition, performance, distribution, and reception. I’m working on three book projects right now. One is about the modern rock radio station WOXY and ideas of “independence” both in music and in relation to contemporary capitalism. Another is about the culture of speculative finance capitalism (e.g., “chill,” “lo-fi,” “vibes,” the rise of music copyright as a trendy investment on Wall Street, and Britney Spears’ conservatorship). And the final one is about The B-52’s album Cosmic Thing as a work of sonic speculative fiction.
At UNC Charlotte I have taught undergraduate and graduate classes such as:
- Social & Political Philosophy
- Philosophy & Pop Culture
- The Philosophy of Music
- Feminist Philosophy
- Feminist Theory & Its Applications
- Transnational Feminism
- Theories of Neoliberalism
- Arts & Society: Music
- Global Hip Hop: Rap, Race, & Diaspora
- Introduction to Philosophy
- Philosophical Approaches to Death & Dying
Education: Ph.D. philosophy, DePaul University