Sidra Lawrence is an associate professor of ethnomusicology at Bowling Green State University. She received a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology and a doctoral portfolio in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. Her research, based on ethnographic work in the border region of Ghana and Burkina Faso, explores the connections between racialized gender ideologies, musical performance, and the sexed body. In her book manuscript, this animal called culture: Performing Feminism and the Politics of Everyday Solidarities, Lawrence investigates ways in which women are regulated through the mobilization of cultural authenticity. Focusing on micro-narratives of empowerment, she argues for a re-theorization of resistance that prioritizes the everyday actions, artistic pursuits, and modes of communication that women employ in order to re-imagine feminist coalition building and an indigenous politics of solidarity.
She is also editing a collected volume that addresses the entangled nature of intimacy, erotics, and trauma. The book, Tensions of Desire: Sounding Entanglements of the Erotic, Trauma, and the Intimate, suggests that the seeming oppositions of pleasure and violence are not only bound together but are borne out of different expressions of the same desirous potentialities. Essays examine how sound, movement, and the performing body can become the means through which these tensions are managed, and those who suffer them prevail. Her chapter in this volume explores sonic memories of trauma and their relationship to how audibility and inaudibility operate within the United States justice system.
She has publications in African Music, the Latin American Music Review, Ethnomusicology, Africa Today, and forthcoming in Meridians, and The Senses and Society. She has a chapter included in the recent volume, Ethnopornography: Sexuality, Colonialism, and Archival Knowledge (Duke University Press). Her work has been supported by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the West African Research Association. She has received awards for her presentations from the Society for Ethnomusicology African Music Section, and the Section on the Status of Women.