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. She received her M.A. and 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.
Her book-in-progress, Acoustics of Empire: Afro Filipino Intimacies and the Political Economies of U.S. Popular Music examines a cross-section of musical artists 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, it 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.
As a consultant and practitioner, Elaine is a researcher, narrative and communications strategist, and facilitator. She collaborates with reimagine collective—an association of mission-driven strategists, organizers, coaches, evaluators, and designers. In this work, she supports 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.