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Catherine M. Appert

Assistant Professor

Lincoln Hall, Room 108

Educational Background

  • Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles



Catherine M. Appert holds a B.M. in piano performance from Rutgers University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from the University of California, Los Angeles.

 Her research on popular music in Senegal and The Gambia centers on questions of globalization, migration, and diaspora, the ethnographic study of musical genre, popular music and gender, and the intersections of music and memory. Other research interests include feminist and urban ethnography; global hip hop cultures; and African, Atlantic, and postcolonial studies. Her book, In Hip Hop Time: An Ethnography of Musical Meaning in Senegal is forthcoming with Oxford University Press.

Appert’s research has been supported by the American Council for Learned Societies with the Mellon Foundation, the Fulbright-Hays Program, , the UCLA International Institute, the Cornell Humanities Council, the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, and the President’s Council of Cornell Women. Her articles appear in Ethnomusicology, Africa, and New Literary History. She has presented her research at numerous annual meetings of the Society for Ethnomusicology, the American Anthropological Association, the African Studies Association, and the International Association for the Study of Popular Music. She was awarded the Charles Seeger Prize from the Society for Ethnomusicology in 2011, and received the SEM Popular Music Section’s Richard Waterman Prize for her 2016 article, “On Hybridity in African Popular Music: The Case of Senegalese Hip Hop.”

At Cornell, she teaches courses on hip hop aesthetics and global hip hop cultures, African and African diasporic musics, postcolonial theory, music and immigrant experience, and ethnographic theory, methods, and writing.


hip hop, rap galsen, Senegal, rap, mbalax, Senegalese hip hop, ethnomusicology, musical ethnography, gender and fieldwork 


  • Music

Graduate Fields

  • Music



Refereed Journal Articles

  • 2017. "Engendering Musical Ethnography." Ethnomusicology 61(3):446-67.
  • 2016. "On Hybridity in African Popular Music: The Case of Senegalese Hip Hop." Ethnomusicology 60(2):279-99.
  • 2016. "Locating Hip Hop Origins: Popular Music and Tradition in Senegal." Africa 86(2):237-62.
  • 2015. "To Make Song without Singing: Hip Hop and Popular Music in Senegal." New Literary History 46(4):759-74.


  • Forthcoming. In Hip Hop Time: An Ethnography of Musical Meaning in Senegal. Oxford University Press.