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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

James Gordon Williams

James Gordon Williams behind a piano.

Assistant Professor

African American Studies

208 Sims Hall


Research and Teaching Interests

  • Practices of Resistance in Afro-diasporic Improvisation and Composition
  • Performance of Racial Identity through Music Technology
  • Epistemologies of African American Music
  • Digital Humanities


  • Ph.D. Integrative Studies in Music, University of California, San Diego
  • M.A. Music, New York University
  • B.Mus. New England Conservatory of Music

Current Course

Masters of Black Music AAS 408/608

Past Courses

  • Masters of Black Music
  • Introduction to African American Music
  • History of Jazz – 1940 to Present
  • Survey of African Music

Selected Publications

James Gordon Williams, 2020, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah’s critique of the Danziger Bridge shootings, Jazz Research Journal, ADVANCE ACCESS to 13.1-2 (2019): Special Issue: Jazz and Everyday Aesthetics, DOI: 10.1558/jazz.37660,

Unrepeatable Life

Unrepeatable Life by James Gordon Williams, Audio CD, Label: CD Baby, ASIN: B000CAJI6U

“Improvising On Feedback Piano: Aesthetic Discourses Behind Technology and Sound” in Rethinking Improvisation: Artistic Explorations & Conceptual Writing, Lund University, Sweden, 2013

“African American Influences On American Music” in Music in American Life: An Encyclopedia of the Songs, Styles, Stars, and Stories That Shaped Our Culture, Greenwood, 2013

“Crossing Cinematic and Sonic Bar Lines: T-Pain’s Can’t Believe It“ Upcoming in UCLA’s Ethnomusicology Review Volume 19 2014


Excellence Personified

(May 22, 2018)

Humanities Center Fellows praised for "disciplinary rigor, interdisciplinary creativity, ethical engagement"

Purple Reign

(Feb. 8, 2018)

Late musician’s commitment to social justice overlooked, James Gordon Williams says

Outlaw Culture Music

(Nov. 16, 2015)

A&S professor James Gordon Williams makes ‘faculty debut’ with concert of original music

Zeitgeist of Opportunity

(April 1, 2015)

Creative Musician James Gordon Williams to Headline Local Events