Her research and teaching interests span popular music and performance studies, feminist cultural studies, comparative ethnic studies, Asian American studies, and popular cultures of U.S. empire. Her book-in-progress, Acoustics of Empire: Afro Filipino Intimacies and the Political Economies of U.S. Popular Music examines a cross-section of touring musicians that generate a set of historical and contemporary Afro Filipino intimacies that decenter the Black-white color line that governs the management and production of difference through popular music. Drawing on popular music studies, cultural geography, and political economy, this work posits an “acoustics of empire” as a performative mode of listening that brings into relief the scales and textures of empire’s governance (from the home to the city, to the hemisphere) and the connections between music, place, mobility, and racialization.
She has presented her research at annual conferences of the American Studies Association and the Association for Asian American Studies, “Music of Asian America: History, Activism, and Collaborations” — a convening co-sponsored by the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival and the Music of Asian America Research Center, and at the Pop Conference — the longest running music writing and pop music studies conference. She has also delivered guest lectures and invited talks at UC Irvine, Soka University of America, CSU East Bay, University of Minnesota, and Spelman College.
She completed her Ph.D. in Culture & Theory with designated emphases in gender and sexuality studies, Asian American studies, and visual studies at the University of California, Irvine. She earned her B.A. in Rhetoric with Honors at the University of California, Berkeley. She is currently a lecturer at Cal State University East Bay.
In her consulting practice, Elaine draws on her experiences across higher education, policy advocacy, and grassroots organizations to support leftist and progressive leaders, teams, organizations, and coalitions who are building power for working-class communities of color.
Elaine also makes music and ceramics in Oakland, California.