Marié Abe is an assistant professor of music at the Department of Musicology and Ethnomusicology at Boston University (BU), with affiliations with the BU Center for Asian Studies, African Studies Center, and New England and American Studies Program.
She has held appointments as a visiting professor in the Department of Anthropology and Department of Music at Harvard University; a faculty fellow at the Susan and Donald Newhouse Center for the Humanities at Wellesley College; postdoctoral fellow at the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard University; and a research fellow at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies in Kyoto, Japan.
Abe’s scholarship explores the political forces of musical sounds primarily in contemporary Japan, within a wide range of contexts from everyday life to social movements. Bridging sound studies and cultural human geography, Abe investigates the politics of sound and space—that is, the culturally particular ways in which people reproduce, challenge, and change assumptions about physical and social space through music as well as everyday sounds that are not considered “musical.” She is the author of Resonances of Chindon-ya: Sounding Space and Sociality in Contemporary (Wesleyan University Press, 2018), and her articles have appeared in journals and edited volumes including Ethnomusicologyand Journal of Popular Music Studies.
In her research projects, Abe is invested in probing the relationship between sound and different forms of violence—from everyday to symbolic, physical, structural, racial, gendered, and ecological. Her ongoing work on the anti-US military movement in Okinawa and new research on the musical affinities between Ethiopia and Japan both zero in on the transnational circulation of violence, cultural imaginaries, and musical sounds through the lens of the military.
As a co-producer along with radio journalist Julie Caine, she has received the Excellence in Journalism Award (the Best Arts Reporting) from the Society for Professional Journalists for her NPR radio documentary “Squeezebox Stories” (2011), which weaves together the social life of the accordion and Californian immigration histories. As a performer and improviser on the accordion herself, Abe actively performs and records with artists from the United States, Japan, and beyond, such as Jinta-la-Mvta, Fred Frith’s Gravity, Tredici Bacci, and the Japonize Elephants. She is currently most active in the Boston-based Ethiopian groove collective Debo Band, which has been featured in the New York Times, Rolling Stone Magazine, Pitchfork, andNPR.
Abe holds an MA and a PhD in Ethnomusicology from the University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor's degree in sociology, anthropology, and ethnomusicology from Swarthmore College.