Marissa J. Moorman

Associate Professor of History, Indiana University

I am a historian of southern Africa. My research focuses on the intersection between politics and culture in colonial and independent Angola. My book Intonations explores how music was a practice in and through which Angolans living under extreme political repression imagined the nation and how the particularities of music and historical moment cast this process of imagining in gendered terms. In other words, I am interested in the ways that cultural practice is productive of politics and not just derivative of it. Much of my evidence comes from interviews with musicians and consumers of music and I explore how memory, experience and pleasure shape politics and history.

I am currently working on a book project entitled Tuning in to Nation, which looks at the relationship between the technology of radio and the shifting politics of southern Africa as anti-colonial movements established independent states in the context of a region newly charged by Cold War politics. Another project, tentatively called Kuduro in Transatlantic Translation, studies the contemporary Angolan music and dance genre, kuduro, both in Angola and as it has been adapted in Salvador de Bahia (Brazil), Lisbon, Paris, Amsterdam and New York.


  • –present
    Associate Professor of History, Indiana University, Bloomington