Faculty & Staff Directory
Sarah Politz
Assistant Professor
School of Music/Ethnomusicology

My work focuses on creative practice in African and Afro-diasporic music, particularly in the context of popular music and new African diasporas in Europe and North America. My first book, Transforming Vodun: Postcolonial Healing and Musical Change in Benin's Jazz and Brass Band Music, is forthcoming with University of Michigan Press in 2023.

My publications have explored a wide range of topics, from phenomenology, semiotics, and history in music analysis, to culturally grounded definitions of musical genre and style, the aesthetics of jazz, and Afro-modernism. My most recent writing has been focused on ecomusicology, sound studies, and improvisation. I am engaged in ongoing research projects related to music and wellness, visuality and orality in music and film, and arts entrepreneurship. At UF, I direct the African Popular Music Ensemble, a group of students and community members specializing in popular music from around the continent.

I completed my PhD in ethnomusicology at Harvard University in 2017, and I also hold an MA in ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University (2011), and a BM in jazz studies and a BA in English from Oberlin College and Conservatory (2007). Before coming to UF, I previously taught at the University of Pittsburgh and Williams College. I perform actively as a jazz trombonist in several groups, including the Theodicy Jazz Collective.

Selected publications:

2022, "Virgin Forest and the 'Intrusion' of Gaïa: Ecomusicological Questions, Relational Listening, and the Music of Lionel Loueke of Benin," Sound Studies, 8(2):196-218. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/20551940.2022.2095763?tab=permissions&scroll=top

2019, "Protest, Polyvalence, and Indirection in Benin's Brass Band Music," in Honk!: A Street Band Renaissance of Music and Activism. Eds. Reebee Garofalo, Erin T.  Allen, and Andrew Snyder. Routledge. https://www.routledge.com/HONK-A-Street-Band-Renaissance-of-Music-and-Activism/Garofalo-Allen-Snyder/p/book/9780367030711

2018, "'We Don't Want to Be Jazz-Jazz': Afro-Modernism, Jazz, and Brass Band Music in Benin," Jazz and Culture, 1:12-48. https://scholarlypublishingcollective.org/uip/jac/article-abstract/doi/10.5406/jazzculture.1.2018.0012/274122/We-Don-t-Want-to-Be-Jazz-Jazz-Afro-Modernism-Jazz

2018, "'People of Allada, This Is Our Return': Indexicality, Multiple Temporalities, and Resonance in the Music of the Gangbé Brass Band of Benin," Ethnomusicology, 62(1):28-57. https://scholarlypublishingcollective.org/uip/etm/article-abstract/62/1/28/234896/People-of-Allada-This-Is-Our-Return-Indexicality?redirectedFrom=fulltext

Contact Information
Yon Hall
Room #435
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