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. Her publications on rock music and constructions of gender and sexuality include articles on Blondie, David Bowie, PJ Harvey, Mick Jagger, and early synthpop.
Peraino’s current book project, Popism in Stereo: A Musical Guide to the Warhol Seventies, explores Andy Warhol’s involvement with rock and pop musicians in the 1970s and early 1980s. In 2020, Peraino was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship to support this research. Her discovery of a tape of previously unknown songs by Lou Reed created for Warhol in 1975 was reported on by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Rolling Stone, and is detailed in the article “I’ll Be Your Mixtape: Lou Reed, Andy Warhol, and the Queer Intimacies of Cassettes.”
Peraino has co-curated two exhibitions: “Anarchy in the Archive: Cornell’s Punk Collections," and “Electrifying Music: The Life and Legacy of Robert Moog.” Her video gallery tours and on-stage interviews with Masha Alyokhina (Pussy Riot), John Doe and Exene Cervenka (X), and Gary Numan are available on YouTube.
Peraino’s publications have received the H. Colin Slim Award of the American Musicological Society, and the Philip Brett Award of the LGTB Study Group of the American Musicological Society. She has also received the Stephen and Margery Russell Distinguished Teaching Award from the College of Arts and Sciences, Cornell University.
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 (with Roger Moseley); 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 has performed with a number of Cornell ensembles and local Latin jazz and salsa groups.
- constructions of gender and sexuality in music
- punk rock, synth pop
- medieval song
- Popism in Stereo: A Musical Guide to the Warhol Seventies (in preparation).
- 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).
- "Pussy Riot: Punk on Trial," The Oxford Handbook of Punk Rock, September 2021.
- "The Politics of Punk in the Era of Trump," OUPblog, October 24, 2020.
- "I'll Be Your Mixtape: Lou Reed, Andy Warhol, and the Queer Intimacies of Cassettes," The Journal of Musicology 36, no. 4 (2019): 401-36.
- “Taking Notae on King and Cleric: The Social Worlds of Song in the Chansonnier de Noailles,” Musical Culture in the World of Adam de la Halle, ed. Jennifer Saltzstein (Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2019), 121-50.
- "Sonograms of Desire, Medieval and Modern," Paragraph: A Journal of Modern Critical Theory 41, no. 1 (March 2018): 26-41.
- “Mick Jagger as Mother,” Social Text Vol. 33, No. 3 (September 2015): 75-113.
- “Synthesizing Difference: The Queer Circuits of Early Synthpop,” Rethinking Difference in Musical Scholarship, ed. Olivia Bloechl, Melanie Lowe, and Jeffery Kallberg (Cambridge University Press, 2015): 287-313.
- “The Same, but Different: Sexuality and Musicology, Then and Now,” Journal of the American Musicological Society 66, no. 3 (2013): 825-31.
- “Plumbing the Surface of Sound and Vision: David Bowie, Andy Warhol, and the Art of Posing,” Qui Parle 21, no. 1 (Fall/Winter 2012): 151-84.
- “Listening to Gender: A Response to Judith Halberstam,” Women and Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture 11 (2007): 59-64.
- “Listening to the Sirens: Music as Queer Ethical Practice,” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 9 (2003): 433-70.
- “Monophonic Motets: Sampling and Grafting in the Middle Ages,” The Musical Quarterly 85 (Winter 2001): 644-80.
- “Re-Placing Medieval Music,” Journal of the American Musicological Society 54 (Summer 2001): 209-64.
- “Girls with Guitars and Other Strange Stories” (review article), Journal of the American Musicological Society 54 (Fall 2001): 692-709.
- “PJ Harvey’s ‘Man-sized Sextet’ and the Inaccessible, Inescapable Gender,” Women and Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture 2 (1998): 47-63
- “Et pui conmencha a canter” : Refrains, Motets, and Melody in the Thirteenth-Century Narrative Renart le nouvel,” Plainsong and Medieval Music 6 (Spring 1997): 1-16.
- “Courtly Obsessions: Music and Masculine Identity in Gottfrired von Strassburg’s Tristan,” repercussions 4 (Fall 1995): 59-85.
- “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.
- “‘Rip Her to Shreds’ : Women’s Music According to a Butch-Femme Aesthetic,” repercussions 1 (Spring 1992): 19-47.