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Benjamin Tausig

Associate Professor, Critical Music StudiesBen Tausig

Benjamin Tausig is a scholar of music, sound, and politics in Southeast Asia. He works between music and sound studies, Asian studies, and anthropology. His recent scholarship combines ethnographic and historical approaches to the study of sound's role in political protest and dissent; Cold War-era music and nightlife encounters; urban space; and sex and gender alterity. His new book Bangkok After Dark: Maurice Rocco and Cold War Global Nightlife is forthcoming in 2024 from Duke University Press. This book is a biography of American jazz pianist Maurice Rocco, who became an expatriate in Bangkok in 1964 until he was killed there in 1976. Rocco's life is examined in the greater context of Thai-American music and nightlife scenes, which played an enormous role in Thailand's development in the 20th century. He is also the author of Bangkok Is Ringing: Sound, Protest, and Constraint (2019), from Oxford University Press, an ethnography of Thailand's 2010-11 Red Shirt antigovernment protest movement. Bangkok Is Ringing was the recipient of the 2020 British Forum for Ethnomusicology first-place book prize.

Dr. Tausig has also published widely in journals including Social Text; Culture, Theory, and Critique; Journal of Popular Music Studies; Music & Politics; Positions: Asia Critique; and the Journal of the American Musicological Society, as well as in venues like The New York Times; Public Books; Mekong Review; New Mandala; and Modernism/Modernity.

He has taught since 2014 at SUNY-Stony Brook University, where his recent graduate and undergraduate courses include Rock, Popular Music, and Society(a decolonial history of rock music), Hearing Politics, Ethnographic Methods, and Sound Studies of Asia. He has lectured throughout North America, and often in Thailand as well.

Tausig has often published in and with sound. His website includes a partial audio-book version of his book, Bangkok Is Ringing, and he produced an episode of Afropop Worldwide about the life, career, and death of Maurice Rocco.