Dr. Kim Ramstedt

Assistant Professor

I work as Assistant Professor in Musicology at the Department of Media and Culture Studies, where I instruct students on ethnographic research methods, (ethnographic) writing, music and culture, coloniality, race, and its intersections with other social categories (see ‘Teaching’ for the courses I currently teach). Prior to relocating to Utrecht University in September 2022, I worked as a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer affiliated with University of Helsinki (2020-2022) and Åbo Akademi University (2018-2020) in Finland. In my earlier positions, I taught courses on music and racism, music and technology, and popular music history.

My research has revolved around the movement and mediation of music from a performance and cultural studies perspective. Currently, I am exploring the dynamics of race and ethnicity in musical encounters in the project “Music scholars in society: Advancing social justice through activist music research” (Kone Foundation 2020-2025). My research investigates how music scholarship and media in Europe has addressed the category of race and how this body of knowledge is equipped to deal with the systematic and structural injustices of racism. I am also conducting autoethnographic research as a white DJ involved in the African club scene in Finland, where I examine the challenges involved in addressing racism in a club context. The aim of this research is to find ways of implementing principles of anti-racist activism in the methods and pedagogics of music studies.

Reflexivity and disclosure of positionality are essential both in my research and in my teaching. As a white non-disabled cis-man studying systems of oppression, I acknowledge that I have no experiential knowledge on the topic. Rather than analyzing and possibly contributing to the normalization of the damage and distress caused by structures that I benefit from, my work interrogates privilege and how it not only creates injustice, but often works to obstruct any efforts of dismantling it. I identify as an activist scholar and aspire to use my academic position and the resources it provides me for action and work towards social justice.

I currently also  serve as the chairperson for the independent research association Suoni and, together with the board, coordinate the association’s operations. This has included convening conferences, such as “Music, Activism, and Research” (2023) and “Music and Racism in Europe” (2021), managing our scholarly publication series and our webzine that offers a platform for debates about activism in music. We also organize smaller workshops, educational events and seminars for our members. On the practical musical side, I worked for ten years as a radio presenter, and I have over twenty years of experience as a DJ and a music producer. I have performed at most major music festivals in Finland and in several other countries, and I have led workshops on the practice of music production and remixing.