Deborah A. Kapchan


Deborah Kapchan

Deborah Kapchan is Professor of Performance Studies at New York University. A Guggenheim fellow, she is the author of Gender on the Market: Moroccan Women and the Revoicing of Tradition (1996 Univ. of Pennsylvania Press), Traveling Spirit Masters: Moroccan Music and Trance in the Global Marketplace (2007 Wesleyan University Press), as well as numerous articles on sound, narrative and poetics. She translated and edited a volume entitled Poetic Justice: An Anthology of Moroccan Contemporary Poetry (in press University of Texas Center for Middle Eastern Studies) and is the editor of two recent works:  Intangible Rights: Cultural Heritage in Transit (2014 University of Pennsylvania Press) and Theorizing Sound Writing (2017 Wesleyan University Press). She was also the editor (with Pauline Strong) of a special issue of the Journal of American Folklore, entitled Theorizing the Hybrid (1999). She is currently writing two books:  The Aesthetics of Proximity and Between Morocco and France: The Festive Sacred and the Islamic Sublime. She is also writing a sonic memoir entitled Listening Methods.


University of Pennsylvania

PhD 1992 - Folklore and Folklife

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Ohio University

Master of Arts 1987 - Linguistics

Athens, Ohio


New York University

Bachelor of Arts 1981 - English Literature, French Language and Literature

New York, New York


Ohio University School of Music


Athens, Ohio


Brooklyn College of Music


Brooklyn, New York

Specialized Areas of Research

• sound studies

• poetics

• new materialism

• affect theory

• ethnography 

• gender theory

• object-oriented ontologies

• hybrid genres

• writing as a public intellectual

• memoir

• theories of the anthropocene

• translation studies

• performance in Middle East and North Africa

• performance of everyday life

• 20th century philosophy

• embodiment

Awards & Distinctions

In addition to a Guggenheim Fellowship, Deborah Kapchan has received fellowships from the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the Fulbright Hayes Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the American Institute of Maghreb Studies, as well as New York University’s Humanities Initiative, and Tisch School of the Arts.