2020–2022 Postdoctoral Fellow, American Studies and Ethnicity
PhD in Modern Thought & Literature, Stanford University
Jonathan Leal is a scholar-musician who comes to USC from Stanford University, where he received an interdisciplinary humanities PhD in Modern Thought & Literature. A native of the South Texas borderlands, he studies music and narrative across sonic, visual, and literary textual media to unpack the legacies of colonialism in and beyond the United States. In 2018, he was named both an Alan Cheuse Emerging Critic by the National Book Critics Circle and an AMS-50 Dissertation Fellow by the American Musicological Society, and in 2019 he was named a Mellon Foundation Dissertation Fellow via the Stanford Humanities Center.
His recent creative work has included sound and music design for the world premiere of Cherríe Moraga’s The Mathematics of Love; a collaborative compilation album, Wild Tongue, featuring music by nine Latinx bands from the South Texas borderlands; and a speculative, transmedia cast album entitled Futuro Conjunto. His scholarly writing has appeared (or is forthcoming) in ASAP, Journal of the Society for American Music, Critical Studies in Improvisation / Études critiques en improvisation, Río Bravo: A Journal of the Borderlands, and Transmedia Directors: Artistry, Industry, and New Audiovisual Aesthetics (Bloomsbury Academic Press 2019), and his essays have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Review of Books, San Francisco Classical Voice, The Tulsa Voice, Critical Mass, and elsewhere. His current book-length project, Dreams in Double Time, maps the reach of post-WWII Black radical music among differently racialized listeners of color in and beyond the United States.