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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 new book, Powerful Frequencies (Ohio 2019), analyzes 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.

My first book, Intonations (Ohio 2008), 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 have published on dance, music, fashion, urban life, film, and radio in academic journals. Opinion pieces and shorter work have been published on The Conversation-Africa, The Guardian online, and Africa is a Country, where I serve on the editorial board,


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