Jocelyne Guilbault

  • Professor, Music Scholarship

  • Phone: 642-2687
  • Office Location: 212 Morrison
  • Office Hours: T & Th 12:30-1:30
  • email

Professor Jocelyne Guilbault specializes in theory and method in popular music studies, politics of aesthetics, and issues dealing with power relations in music production and circulation. Since 1980, she has done extensive fieldwork in the French Creole- and English-speaking islands of the Caribbean on both traditional and popular music. She published several articles on ethnographic writings, aesthetics, the cultural politics of West Indian music industries, and world music. She is the author of Zouk: World Music in the West Indies (1993) and the co-editor of Border Crossings: New Directions in Music Studies (1999-2000). Her last main publication is entitled Governing Sound: the Cultural Politics of Trinidad’s Carnival Musics (2007).

My work as an ethnomusicologist has been deeply informed by the distinct history of the West Indies. Whether in St. Lucia, Dominica, Barbados, Antigua, Trinidad or in the French Departments of Martinique and Guadeloupe where I did some fieldwork, the colonial legacies of slavery and of racism have loomed large in all sectors of activities, including music, to this day. My focus on diasporic formations, emergent national identities, and politics of representation has thus been oriented by the postcolonial condition in which West Indian musicians live and the systemic inequalities such condition has entailed for them. My research, however, has not only focused on repressive powers and its tragic outcomes. I have devoted much of my research to show that agency is not just about emancipatory politics nor solely about oppression, but also at times about maintaining status quo. In this perspective, I have examined how and through what people involved in the music business have deployed power and to what effects. In my last book, Governing Sound: the Cultural Politics of Trinidad’s Carnival Musics (2007), I explored the ways the calypso music scene became audibly entangled with projects of governing, audience demands, and market incentives. I also showed how through sound, musicians perform at once the inclusion and exclusion of certain bodies, sensibilities, and aesthetics. I am now working on two new book projects. One focuses on musical connections—or what I refer to as “audible entanglements”—and circulation through the examination of a reputed West Indian musician’s life story. My second book project focuses on soca to address the poetics and politics of pleasure.


1984     Musical Events in the Lives of the People of a Caribbean Island:  St. Lucia. Ph.D. dissertation. Ann Arbor, Michigan:  University Microfilms International.
1987     Instruments Musicaux à St. Lucie:  Contextes d’Apparition et Transmission d’un Savoir Culturel.  Paris:  ACCT.
1993a     Zouk: World Music in the West Indies.  Chicago:  The University of Chicago Press.
1993b     Traditional Music in St. Lucia.  Washington, D.C.: Folkways/Smithsonian Institute. [compact disc of original recordings accompanied by a pamphlet (31 pages)] 40416
2007     Governing Sound: The Cultural Politics of Trinidad’s Carnival Musics. Chicago: the University of Chicago Press.

Edited Collection
2000     Jocelyne Guilbault, John Shepherd, and Murray Dineen (eds).  Border Crossings:  New Directions in Music Studies. Repercussion, Special Issue volume 7-8

Book Chapters
1990     “On Interpreting Popular Music:  Zouk in the West Indies.”  in John Lent (ed.).  Caribbean Popular Culture.  Ohio:  Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 79-97.
1994     “‘Authority’ revisited:  The ‘Other’ in Anthropology and Popular Music Studies,”  (with Line Grenier) in B. Diamond and R. Witmer (eds), Canadian  Music, Issues of Hegemony and Identity. Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press, 203-21. (First appeared in 1990; see below)
1996a     “The Role of Zouk in the French Antilles.”  In B. Anderson, (ed.).Music of the Caribbean.  New York:  McGrawhill Co. College Custom series, 73-95.
1996b     “Musique et développement:  le rôle du zouk en Guadeloupe,”  in A.Daré et F. Réno (eds), Musique et Politique: Les répertoires de l’identité, 305-21. Rennes, France:  Presses Universitaires de Rennes.
1996c     “Country Profile:  St. Lucia” (with Embert Charles), in Barry S. Brook (ed.), The Universe of Music:  A History, volume 11.  New York:  UNESCO.
1998a     “St. Lucian Musical Traditions.” in D. Olsen and D. Sheehy (eds).  The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, Volume 9: 938-46,  Music of Latin America and the Caribbean.  Los Angeles.
1998b     “Guadeloupe Musical Traditions.”  in D. Olsen and D. Sheehy (eds).  The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, Volume 9: 873-80, Music of Latin America and the Caribbean.  Los Angeles.
1998c     “Dominica Musical Traditions,” in D. Olsen and D. Sheehy (eds).  The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, Volume 9: 840-44, Music of Latin America and the Caribbean.  Los Angeles.
2000     “Racial Projects and Music Practices in Trinidad, West Indies.” Music and the Racial Imagination , edited by Ronald Radano and Philip V. Bohlman (with a Foreword by Houston A. Baker, Jr.) 435-58.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
2001a     “World Music.”  In The Cambridge Companion to Pop and Rock, edited by Simon Frith and Will Straw, 176-192.  Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press. Also published in Chinese and Korean.
2001b     “Making and Selling Culture:  Calypso Music during Carnival.” In Cahiers de la Société du Québec Recherche en Musique 5(1-2): 129-137.
2002     “The Politics of Calypso in a World of Music Industries.” Popular Music Studies, edited by David Hesmondhalgh and Keith Negus, 191-204.  London:  Arnold Publishers.
2004     “On Redefining the Nation through Party Music.” In Culture  in   Action:  Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago, edited by Milla Riggio, 228-38.  Routledge:  New York.
2005a     “Making and Selling Culture:  Calypso Music during Carnival.”  In Caribbean Popular Culture & Globalization, edited by Christine Ho and Keith Nurse, 141-61.  Temple University Press/ Ian Randle Press.
2005b     “Globalizzazione e localismo.” In Enciclopedia della musica: L’unità della musica, ed. Jean-Jacques Nattiez, 5: 138-56.  Turino: Enaudi.
2005c     “On Redefining the ‘Local’ Through World Music.” In Ethnomusicology: A Contemporary Reader, edited by Jennifer C. Post, 137-46. New York: Routledge.
2006a     “Zouk and the Isles of the Caribees.” In The Popular Music Studies Reader, edited by Andy Bennett, Barry Shank and Jason Toynbee, 187-93.  New York: Routledge.
2006b     “Saint Lucia.” With Embert Charles, in Music in Latin America and the Caribbean: An Encyclopedic History, Volume 2 Performing Caribbean Experience, chapter 25, edited by Malena Kuss. Austin: University of Texas Press.
In press     “Music, Pleasure, and Politics: Live Soca in Trinidad” in Musical Traditions, Cultures and Contexts: Essays in Honour of Beverley Diamond. Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

1985    “St. Lucian Kwadril Evening.”  Latin American Music Review  6(1): 31-57.
1987a    “Fitness and Flexibility:  Funeral Wakes in St. Lucia, West Indies.” Ethnomusicology  31(2): 273-99.
1987b    “The La Rose and La Marguerite Organizations in St. Lucia:  Oral and Literate Strategies in Performance.”  Yearbook for Traditional Music 19: 97-115.
1990a    “On Interpreting Popular Music:  Zouk in the West Indies.” The Folk Research Centre/Plas Wichach Folklo Bulletin (2)2: 4-31. (First appeared in book chapter; see above)
1990b    “‘Authority’ Revisited:  the ‘Other’ in Anthropology and Popular Music Studies.”  Ethnomusicology  34(3): 383-98.
1991    “Ethnomusicology and the Study of Music in the Caribbean.”  Studies in Third World Societies  45: 117-40.
1992a    “Sociopolitical, Cultural and Economic Development through Music:  Zouk in the French West Indies.” Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies  17(34): 27-40.
1992b    “A World Music Back Home:  The Power of Mediations.”  Popular Music Perspectives  3: 131-40.
1993    “On Redefining the Local Through World Music.” World Music  (35)2: 33-47.
1994a     “Interpretation Out of Contradiction:  A World Music in the West Indies.” Canadian University Music Review, volume 14: 1-17.
1994b    “Créolité and the New Cultural Politics of Difference in Popular Music of the French West Indies.”  Black Music Research Journal  14(2): 161-79.
1995    “On Redefining the Local Through World Music.” PopScriptum  (in German) 3: 30-44. (First appeared in 1993; see above)
1997a    “Interpreting World Music:  A Challenge in Theory and Practice.” Popular Music 16(1): 31-44.
1997b    “Créolité and Francophonie in Music:  Socio-Musical Repositionings Where It Matters.” With Line Grenier, Cultural Studies 11(2): 207-34.
1997c    “The Politics of Labeling Popular Musics in English Caribbean.”   Trans III (electronically-produced musicological journal published in Spain) (
2002-03    “Beyond the ‘World Music’ Label: An Ethnography of Transnational Musical Practices”, a 31-page typescript, in volume 34 of Criterios, one of the leading academic journals of cultural studies published in Spanish.
2005    “Audible Entanglements: Nation and Diasporas in Trinidad’s Calypso Music Scene.” Small Axe (Journal of criticism). Volume 17: 40-63.

1980    “Le Rossignol y Chante” by M. Barbeau.  Ethnomusicology  24: 313-15.
1988a    “La Musique dans La Société Antillaise, 1635-1902” by Jacqueline Rosemain.  Latin American Music Review  9(2): 272-74.
1988b    “Le Bandonéon depuis le Tango” by Arturo Penón and Javier Garcia Méndez.  CUMR  (Canadian University Music Review) 9(1): 204-6.
1988c    “The Man-of-Words in the West Indies:  Performance and the Emergence of Creole Culture” by Roger D. Abrahams.  Ethnomusicology  32(3): 455-58.
1989    Les Musiques Guadeloupéennes dans le Champ Culturel Afro-Américain au Sein des Musiques du Monde.  Latin American Music Review  10(2):302-6.
1996    Calypso:  Early Carnival Music in Trinidad by Donald R. Hill. Ethnomusicology  40(2): 336-39.
1997    Dangerous Crossroads:  Popular Music, Postmodernism and the Poetics of Place by George Lipsitz.  American Music 15(2): 238-42
2003    Awakening Spaces:  French Caribbean Popular Songs, Music, and Culture.  Brenda F. Berrian. 2000. Chicago:  The University of Chicago Press” For the Society for Ethnomusicology Journal 47(3): 384-87.
2007    West Indian Rhythm: Trinidad Calypsos on World and Local Events Featuring the Censored Recordings—1938-1940, compiled and commented by The Classic Calypso Collective.  For Popular Music Journal.


1976    Bachelor degree in Music Education, Université de Montréal
1980    Masters in Musicology (Ethnomusicology), Université de Montréal
1984    Ph.D. in Musicology (Ethnomusicology), University of Michigan, U.S.A.

1984-98    University of Ottawa, Department of Music
1993    University of California, Berkeley: Visiting Professor, Department of Music
1994-2002    York University: Adjunct Professor, Department of Music
1999-    University of California, Berkeley, Department of Music
Affiliate Professor, African American Studies Department

Honors and Distinctions
Member of the Board of Governors of the University of California Humanities Research Institute at Irvine (2007-2012)
Henry and Julia Weisman Schutt Chair in Music (2007-2010)
SSHRC Research Grant (2003-2006) with Bob White (U. of Montreal, Canada) and Steven Feld (U. of New Mexico), Tim Taylor (UCLA), and Martin-Denis Constant (Centre d’études et de recherches internationals de la Fondation nationale des sciences politiques, Paris, France)
Fellowship  at the University of California Humanities Research Institute at Irvine, Spring 2002
Ford Grant Foundation for African Diaspora Studies at UC-Berkeley, 1999,
Research Grant (COR) from UC-Berkeley, 1999, 2000
SSHRC Research Grants with Dr. Line Grenier and Dr. Will Straw (1995-98)
SSHRC Research Grants (1994-96; 1989-90; 1987-89);
Edith Kreeger-Wolf Distinguished Visiting Professor at Northwestern University. May 1992
Research Services of U. of Ottawa (1993, 1987, 1985)