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Kim Sauberlich

I am an Atlantic Music scholar who focuses on the intersection of embodied performance and racialized knowledge production. My dissertation and book project entitled Black Orpheus: Musical Scenarios in Atlantic Rio de Janeiro (1808-1888) examines Atlantic performances in the city of Rio de Janeiro, from the 1808 transfer of the Portuguese court to Brazil’s 1888 official abolition of slavery. Rio was the only city in the history of modern empires that housed both a liberal bourgeoisie aspiring to European ideals and enslaved African men and women, offering a case of “metropolitan reversal.” By examining musical biographies, comic plays, parodies of Western classics, and song collections from Rio de Janeiro’s Biblioteca Nacional archives in conjunction with Central African philosophies of music, I show that Rio can reverse center-periphery binaries and offer a space for studying the transmission of Bantu as well as racial-colonial cultural memories.

I grew up in Brazil and England and completed my BMus and MMus degrees at King’s College, London. My project is funded by a Berkeley-Mellon Fellowship, a dissertation fellowship from the Hellman Fellows Fund, an Arts Research Centre Fellowship, a Townsend Centre Dissertation Fellowship, and a Stanford Mabelle McLeod Lewis fellowship. I have also received a Harold S. Powers World Travel Fund Award and an Alvin H. Johnson AMS 50 Dissertation Fellowship from the American Musicological Society.

Research interests: Atlantic musics, Latin America and the Caribbean, Critical Race Theory, Performance Studies, embodiment, phenomenology, popular musics