Reidy, Anna

Humanities Research Fellow Affiliation: NYU Abu Dhabi
Education: BFA, MA, Queen's University Belfast

Anna is a doctoral candidate in Ethnomusicology in the FAS Department of Music at New York University New York. Subsequent to her tenure with the NYU Abu Dhabi Research Institute, Anna received an NYU Humanities Initiative Graduate Fellowship to complete her dissertation writing in residence at NYU New York during the 2014-15 academic year.

Anna’s research focuses on the sonic cultures and philosophies of the western Mediterranean, North Africa, and the Arab Gulf. Her scholarship combines history, ethnography, theology, and queer feminism at the intersection of music and sound studies. In her work, she strives to recognize suffering and courage as fundamental components of human beings and to assert their recognition as crucial to the Humanities endeavor.

The locus of her work is sawt — an Arabic concept that fuses all forms of acoustical resonance with voice, presence, and soundness of being. She is particularly interested in how sawt is deployed within heterodox forms of spiritual practice, and in how sound and human integrity are entangled, neurologically and environmentally, in material bodies that are simultaneously personal and collective.

Her dissertation, “Ṣawt Ṭanjah: A Historical Ethnography of Ethics, Acoustics and Civic Life in Modern Tangier,” is an experiment in historical writing that examines sawt through a study of bare life, sonorous matter and technologies of the soul in Tangier, Morocco.

Upon completion of the PhD, Anna intends to undertake a long-term study of music, power, gender, and sea-lust in the sovereign court of sixteenth-century North African pirate queen Sayyida al-Hurra. To support auxiliary interests in Maghrebi psych rock, urban art music of the pre-oil Gulf, and early gramophone cultures of the Islamic world more generally, she collects old 45s and 78s produced in the region. Anna was trained as a pianist in the Western classical tradition, holds a BFA in Music History and earned an MA in Social Anthropology from Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland.