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Christopher Ballantine

Professor of Music Emeritus, and University Fellow, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Christopher Ballantine is Professor of Music Emeritus at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and a Fellow of the University. His work is widely published in international and local journals and books; it explores the meanings and social implications of music, and the forces that shape it. In particular, he has written about the music of the last 100 years, the philosophy and sociology of music, and South African music. His recent publications have shown how music can challenge essentialised or exclusionary ideas about ‘race’, and can help in the shaping of progressive post-apartheid identities.

A graduate of the universities of Cambridge, Cape Town, and the Witwatersrand, he is the author of five books. Most recent among them are Marabi Nights: Jazz, 'Race' and Society in Early Apartheid South Africa (UKZN Press), which won the UKZN Book Prize for 2014; and Living Together; Living Apart? Towards Social Cohesion in a Future South Africa (co-authored and co-edited with UKZN Emeritus Professors Michael Chapman and Gerhard Maré, and Dr Kira Erwin of the Durban University of Technology), published by UKZN Press in 2018. Other recent publications include a chapter in Sound and Imagination (Oxford University Press, 2019); a chapter in The Routledge Companion to Jazz Studies (Routledge, 2019); ‘A New Gold Standard: The Rise and Rise of South African Singers’ in Opera 71:3, 2020; and ‘Against Populism: Music, Classification, Genre’ in Twentieth-Century Music (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2020).

He is regularly ranked in the group of 'Top 30 Researchers' at UKZN.


  • –present
    Professor of Music Emeritus, and University Fellow, University of KwaZulu-Natal


    Wits/ Cambridge/ UCT, doctorate


Fellow of UKZN/ University Book Prize/ UKZN 'Top-30 Researcher'