Marceline Saibou

Assistant Professor of Music

On leave for 2018-19 academic year

Prof. Saibou is an Africanist ethnomusicologist; her research interests include the region of West Africa, popular music, musical nationalism, and representations of Africanness through music and musical discourse. Her primary area of research is Togo, with a particular focus on local popular music and its articulation with state power. Prof. Saibou enjoys introducing students to her discipline, its theories and methods, and their application in the study of music as a social and cultural phenomenon. Courses she will teach in upcoming semesters include “Music and Everyday Life,” “Musical Cultures of the World,” “Musical Ethnography,” and seminars that examine traditional and popular music in a variety of African social, cultural, and historical contexts.


  • M.A., Columbia University; New York, NY
  • M.A., Columbia University; New York, NY
  • M.M., Hochschule für Musik Köln-Germany; Cologne, Germany

Recent and Upcoming Presentations

“The Study of Popular Music in Africa: Towards a Fuller Geographical Coverage” Upcoming paper to be presented at the 2nd Symposium of the ICTM African Musics Study Group on “African Music Scholarship in the Twenty-first Century: Challenges and Directions,” the Department of Music, School of Performing Arts, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana. 9-12 August 2018.

“Experiencing Absence and Alienation: Musical Longing in Postcolonial Togo.” Paper presented at the 62nd Annual Meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM), the University of Denver, the University of Colorado Boulder, and Colorado College. 26 October 2017.

“From Propaganda to Silence: Popular Music, Lyrics, and Politics under the Eyadéma Regime”. Invited talk given at the Multidisciplinary Colloquium “Poésies – Politiques/Poetries – Politics”, the Department of French in Collaboration with the Departments of Amesall, Comparative Literature, Spanish and Portuguese, and the Center for African Studies, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ. 9-10 November 2017.

“Togolese Animation Politique: Anatomy of a Musical State Spectacle.” Department of Music, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine. 1 March 2017.

“Revisiting Hybridity: Africanist Ethnomusicology, Postcolonial Theory, and the Study of Popular Music.” Paper presented at the International Symposium on “Valorizing African Cultural Heritage and Thought II: Migration, Mobility, Epistemologies, and Alternative Histories,” Dakar Institute of African Studies, Senegal. 2 July 2016.

“Creativity under Authoritarian Rule: Popular Music and State Power in Postcolonial Togo.” Invited talk given to the Emeritus Professors In Columbia (EPIC), Columbia University, New York City. 6 October 2016.

“Musical Evisceration under State Patronage – The Curious Case of Togo.” Paper presented at the 35th Meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology (MACSEM), University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA. 5 March 2016.