Skip to main content

Rachel Colwell

Rachel Colwell is a Doctoral Candidate in Ethnomusicology specializing in ma’lūf – Tunisian Arab-Andalusi art music – and listening practices. In her dissertation, Listening Through and Against Ma’lūf: An Acoustemological Approach to Place, Power, and Practice in Post-2011 Tunisia, she investigates the connections to geographic places and movements, emplaced sonic histories, and affective orientations perpetuated and challenged through contemporary Tunisian listening acts. Her dissertation fieldwork in 2016, a continuation of research carried out in 2009 and 2013, was funded by the American Institute for Maghrib Studies and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at UC Berkeley. Rachel is especially concerned with the experiences of young people and amateur music enthusiasts. Her work advocates for increased attention toward questions of access and participation in post-authoritarian contexts and for multisensory and emplaced knowledge as key sites of continued anti-colonial resistance and scholarship.


She has presented papers at the Society for Ethnomusicology, the American Anthropological Association, and the Mediterranean Chapter of the International Council for Traditional Music. Her interests include: music and politics, music and place, sound studies, music education, anthropology of the senses, cultural geography, folklore, architectural acoustics, affect, organology.