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Judith A. Peraino



Judith Peraino's research in the areas of both medieval song and rock music concerns the intersection of subject formation, social identity, and musical expression. She is the author of two books: Listening to the Sirens: Musical Technologies of Queer Identity from Homer to Hedwig (2006), which investigates how music has been used throughout history to call into question norms of gender and sexuality; and Giving Voice to Love: Song and Self-Expression from the Troubadours to Guillaume de Machaut (2011), which investigates how the music of medieval Occitan and French “courtly love” songs encodes the self-conscious complexity of subjectivity expressed in the lyrics.  She is also the editor of the collection Medieval Music in Practice: Studies in Honor of Richard Crocker (2013).

Peraino’s publications on rock music and constructions of gender and sexuality include articles on Blondie, David Bowie, PJ Harvey, Mick Jagger, and early synthpop. In 2016 she co-curated the exhibit “Anarchy in the Archive” featuring materials from Cornell’s Punk Collection.  Her video gallery tours for this exhibit, and on-stage interviews with Masha Alyokhina (Pussy Riot), and John Doe and Exene Cervenka (X) are available on YouTube.

Peraino is currently working on a book that explores Andy Warhol’s involvement with, and influence on, rock and pop musicians in the 1970s, and the intersection of queer and dissident identities, capitalism, and Warholian “popism” and “business art” aesthetics.  She is also conducting research on the musical soundtrack of Warhol’s 1960s films; and will be co-editing a volume on punk rock identities and communities.

Her undergraduate courses include: The History of Rock Music; Punk Culture: the Aesthetics and Politics of Refusal; The Beatles; Rock, Rap, and Ethics; and Music and Queer Identity.

Her graduate courses include: Synthesizing Pop: Electronics and the Musical Imagination; The Velvet Underground Archive; Vocality and Embodiment; The Chansons of Guillaume de Machaut, The Songs of the Troubadours and Trouvères; and Gender, Sexuality and Glam Rock.

Peraino plays conga drums and djembe, and performs with a number of Cornell ensembles and local Latin jazz and salsa groups.


LGBT and Queer Theory, Medieval Song, Rock, Punk, and Synthpop, Sound and Media


  • American Studies Program
  • Feminist, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies Program
  • Medieval Studies Program
  • Music

Graduate Fields

  • Music
  • Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies
  • Medieval Studies
  • Performing and Media Arts


  • Visual Studies Program


  • constructions of gender and sexuality in music
  • punk rock, synth pop
  • medieval song



  • Editor, Medieval Music in Practice: Essays in Honor of Richard Crocker (Middleton WI: American Institute of Musicology, 2013).
  • Giving Voice to Love: Song and Self-Expression from the Troubadours to Guillaume de Machaut (Oxford and New York:  Oxford University Press, 2011).
  • Listening to the Sirens: Musical Technologies of Queer Identity from Homer to Hedwig (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006).


  • “I am an Opera:  Identifying with Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas,” in En Travesti: Women, Gender Subversion, Opera, ed. Corinne E. Blackmer and Patricia Juliana Smith (New York:  Columbia University Press, 1995): 99-131.


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