- PhD 2006 (with Distinction) Columbia University, Ethnomusicology
- MA 1999 Wesleyan University, Ethnomusicology
- BA 1992 Oberlin College, East Asian Studies
My work explores cultural and political formations through the ethnography of popular music, and examines how the circulation of global media becomes central to processes of social and epistemological transformation. My interests include globalization of popular music, remediation, protest culture, and social practices of listening. My current project focuses on the politics of sound in urban Japan, particularly in the impact of noise regulations on homeless and migrant labor communities in South Osaka, and on the role of music, sound, and noise in the antinuclear movement in post-3.11 Japan.
Co-director, Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Music
Affiliate, East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies
Affiliate, Film and Media Studies
Related links to David Novak's research:
2015 Keywords in Sound. Co-edited with Matthew Sakakeeny. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
2013 Japanoise: Music at the Edge of Circulation. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Winner of the 2014 Book Prize from the British Forum for Ethnomusicology.
Selected Articles, Chapters and Online Publications
2014 “A Beautiful Noise Emerging from the Apparatus of an Obstacle: Trains and the Sound of the Japanese City.” In The Acoustic City, Matthew Gandy and Benny Nilsen, eds. Berlin: Jovis.
2013 “Osaka Inside Out: Recording the Keynote Sounds of the City.” Field recording mix and notes. Sensory Studies, October 2013.
2013 “The Sounds of Japan’s Antinuclear Movement.” Podcast and multimedia publication. post: Notes on Modern and Contemporary Art around the Globe. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). David Plath Media Award (Honorable Mention), Society for East Asian Anthropology, American Anthropological Association.
2011 “The Sublime Frequencies of New Old Media.” Public Culture 23(3): 601-634. See also online media supplement. Jaap Kunst Prize (Honorable Mention), Society for Ethnomusicology.
2010 “Listening to Kamagasaki.” Anthropology News 51(9): 5.
2010 “Onkyô/Oto, Chinmoku/Ma, to Impuro no Sendaitekina Kachi” [“Sound(s), Silence(s), and the Global Value of Improvisation”]. In Nyû Jazu Sutadizu [The New Jazz Studies], ed. T. Miyawaki, S. Hosokawa and M.S. Molasky, pp. 375-395. Tokyo: Artes.
2010 “Cosmopolitanism, Remediation and the Ghost World of Bollywood.” Cultural Anthropology 25(1): 40-72. Also see online media supplement.
2008 “2.5 by 6 Metres of Space: Japanese Music Coffeehouses and Experimental Practices of Listening.” Popular Music 27(1): 15-34. Winner of Richard Waterman Prize, Popular Music Section of the Society for Ethnomusicology.
Anthropology of Music
Music as Media
Globalization and Popular Music
Music and Documentary Film
Making Independent Music in America
Music in Modern Japan
Global Screens, Global Sounds
Music Cultures of Java and Bali
Dissertation Writing Workshop