Ronald Radano

Professor, African Cultural Studies & Music

1408 Van Hise

Ron Radano

Ronald Radano is an ethnomusicologist with a special interest in the history of US Black music and its transnational circulation. He approaches his subject through the interpretive mechanisms of social and cultural theory and history, giving particular emphasis to the ideological formation of race. He teaches seminars and courses on a variety of topics, including global pop, the global circulation of black music, and cultural theory.

Radano is the author of two award-winning books, New Musical Figurations: Anthony Braxton’s Cultural Critique (Chicago, 1993; Italian translation, forthcoming) and Lying up a Nation: Race and Black Music (Chicago, 2003), and coeditor of Music and the Racial Imagination (Chicago, 2000) and Audible Empire: Music, Global Politics, Critique (Duke, 2016). His work has appeared in numerous journals, including Musical Quarterly, Daedalus, Critical Inquiry, Modernism/Modernity,  Radical History Review, and Boundary 2. He is coeditor of two book series, Refiguring American Music (Duke) and Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology. Radano has held research residencies and fellowships at numerous institutions, including the WEB Du Bois Institute (Harvard), the Smithsonian Institution, and the University of Pennsylvania (as a Rockefeller Fellow). He was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1997 and a Senior Fellow at Wisconsin’s Institute for Research in the Humanities from 2013 to 2017, where he drafted his forthcoming study in aesthetics, “Secret Animation of Black Music:  A Theory of Value.”  In Spring 2019, Radano will embark on a new project as the Andrew W. Mellon/Berlin Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin.  The project focuses on the first archive of African phonographic recording, which came into being during the period of Germany’s colonial occupation (c1885-1918).