Anton Blackburn (UK)

Life After Ertegun House

Next academic year, I will be commencing my doctoral studies in the Unities States, where I will continue my training as an Ethnomusicologist. Provisionally, I will continue to combine social scientific and philosophical methods during fieldwork in Japan’s urban LGBTQIA+ nightlife scenes. This project will hopefully take forward my existing research in popular music and drag culture but in a new and globally influential locale. In this sense, my doctoral research will be a pivotal moment in my trajectory when I shift from ‘ethnography’ to ‘anthropology’, as I will have the opportunity to comparatively consider drag within a planetary context, with the appropriate critical distance that serves the communities I will work with and not just my own academic career.


My other research interests in music range from sound studies and sound art (particularly sound walking and the fledgling field of sonic urbanism) to 18th-century French theatre and opera (namely the singing career of the drag performer Pierre Jélyotte within the long Querelle des Anciens et des Modernes). Outside of music, I am actively researching current anthropological debates, particularly the ontological turn and epistemological renegotiations offered by ‘perspectivism’ and ‘multinaturalism’. In addition to this, I am working on a co-authored paper for the journal Anthropological Theory, offering a critique of ‘Anthropological Realism’ and related anti-intellectual commitments to ‘common sense’ and ‘reality’ in interpretive social scientific research. I hope to continue bringing music and anthropology together beyond the subdiscipline of ‘ethnomusicology’ throughout my doctoral studies, especially as I look for my fieldwork to bring marginalised perspectives and ways of living/performing to bear on post-Enlightenment secularities.


Committed to social activism and community service, I am happy to speak with and help prepare any prospective Ertegun applicants who are from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. I would particularly like to encourage working-class applicants who identify as trans* or queer and/or come from Black and minority backgrounds to reach out for support.