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Deborah A. Kapchan

Associate Chairperson; Associate Professor

Deborah Kapchan is Associate 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 (Univ. of Pennsylvania Press 1996), Traveling Spirit Masters: Moroccan  Music and Trance in the Global Marketplace (Wesleyan University Press 2007), as well as numerous articles on sound, listening, narrative and poetics. She is translating and editing a volume entitled Poetic Justice: An Anthology of Moroccan Contemporary Poetry, and is also the editor of two recent volumes:  Intangible Rights: Cultural Heritage in Transit (2014 University of Pennsylvania Press) and Theorizing Sound Writing (under review). She is currently writing on listening, and collaborating on a sound writing project with Martin Daughtry (NYU Music). She is also conducting an ethnography of the island of Fårö in Sweden.


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.