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Practical matters How to find us D.E. (Darci) Sprengel, Dr

D.E. (Darci) Sprengel, Dr

D.E. (Darci) Sprengel, Dr

“Postponed Endings”: Youth Music and Affective Politics in Post-Revolutionary Egypt

 My first book manuscript (in-progress), “Postponed Endings”: Youth Music and Affective Politics in Post-Revolution Egypt is based on 36 months of ethnographic research in Egypt conducted between 2010 and 2017. It demonstrates that sonic atmosphere is a form of biopower utilized not only by powerful states but also by grassroots activists. Focusing on the aftermath of the “defeated” 2011 Egyptian revolution, it examines how musicians use do-it-yourself (DIY) music to transform the atmosphere of the urban built environment away from fear and depression toward other affective registers. In so doing, they are just one of a number of different social groups—which also include working-class street musicians and the state—seeking to expand their capacity to affect others (and their power) via the dissemination of sound in public space in a context where public gathering and critique are criminalized. “Postponed Endings” ultimately shows that sonic atmosphere is a grassroots tool of political activism that is contested through constructions of class, gender, and ethnicity that afford various bodies differential capacities to affect and be affected.

The Imperial Politics of Global Music Streaming

My current research investigates the power dynamics at play in the globalization of music streaming platforms, including Spotify, Deezer, YouTube, and Amazon Music, as they expand across the global South. Considering this expansion in relation to longer histories of inequality between global North and South and inequalities within the music industries, the study questions: (1) how streaming platforms represent non-Western musics and musicians as well as inform music production, consumption and distribution in local music economies; (2) how imaginaries of who listeners are—which necessarily engage intersecting formations of race, nationality, class, gender, ethnicity and so on—get solidified into online infrastructures in ways that may perpetuate digital exclusions and inequalities, enacting digital orientalism and/or “algorithmic oppression”; and (3) how homegrown local platforms based in the global South may provide alternative models that decentre the Western listener. Bringing together feminist and critical race approaches to digital media with deep ethnographic research among users and industry professionals in Cairo, Beirut, and Dubai, the project aims to develop strategies for making digital music technologies more ethical and inclusive. This project is funded by the British Academy, the John Fell Fund, and the ERC.

White Supremacy and Anti-Blackness in North Africa

This long-term project continues my focus on race and inequality within the global South by interrogating the contemporary role of anti-Blackness in Arab conceptions of self. This book explores how white privilege and anti-Blackness manifest in daily practices within contemporary Egypt by looking at how racial politics affect the lives of foreign expatriate musicians, Egyptian musicians as well as Sudanese and Nubian migrant and refugee musicians. Focusing especially on how contemporary racialization is linked to Egypt’s own history as a colonizer of the Sudan and the securitization practices of the more recent global so-called War on Terror, the book connects the study of Arab homeland and diaspora, shifting academic discourse away from treating them as two separate fields. This study ultimately examines the usefulness and limitations of dominant critical race theory for understanding the lived experiences of inequality within the global South, shedding light on the challenges of transnational racial solidarity. It offers new insights for music and critical race studies by theorizing a sonic notion of “the colonized colonizer” that decenters Euro-American conceptions of race to understand racialized notions of difference within and across North Africa. Read more on this project here

Last modified:25 June 2022 4.07 p.m.