Loren Kajikawa

Loren Kajikawa
Program Head & Associate Professor, History & Culture
Phillips Hall, Rm. B-139, 801 22nd St NW, Washington, DC 20052
[email protected]


Loren Kajikawa is an associate professor of music at the George Washington University’s Corcoran School of the Arts & Design. His main area of research and teaching is American music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with special attention to the dynamics of race and politics. From 2009 to 2018, Kajikawa was employed at the University of Oregon’s School of Music and Dance, where he taught a variety of courses in music history, ethnomusicology, and musicology.


Kajikawa’s writings have appeared in American Music, Black Music Research Journal, ECHO: a music-centered journal, Journal of the Society for American Music, and Popular Music and Society, among others. His book Sounding Race in Rap Songs (University of California Press, 2015) explores the relationship between rap music’s backing tracks and racial representation. In addition to his publications, Kajikawa served as contributing editor for the Grove Dictionary of American Music, Second Edition (Oxford 2013), soliciting and editing all hip-hop and rap music related entries. He currently serves as co-editor of “Tracking Pop,” the University of Michigan Press’s series of books about popular music, and as a senior editor for Oxford Handbooks Online. He is also Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Society for American Music (Vol. 12-13) published by Cambridge University Press.


As a graduate student, he received the 2008 Mark Tucker Award for the best paper presented at the Society for American Music conference in San Antonio, Texas.

Professional Organizations

Kajikawa has been invited to give the AMS/Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum Lecture in Cleveland, Ohio, and he regularly presents his work at annual meetings of the American Musicological Society, American Studies Association, International Association for the Study of Popular Music, and Society for American Music, among others.

Kajikawa also served as a participating member of the UO Department of Ethnic Studies and a core member of the UO Folklore Program. Working with faculty from these departments, he organized performances and lectures in the Music & Politics Series. Guests in this series included the legendary musician, scholar, and activist Bernice Johnson Reagon, renowned Reggae music and culture archivist Roger Steffens, hip hop musician and filmmaker Boots Riley, award-winning pianist and composer Jon Jang, and L.A.-based Chicano rock band Quetzal.