Christina Zanfagna is an ethnomusicologist living in Berkeley, CA and teaching at Santa Clara University. In her book, Holy Hip Hop in the City of Angels (UC Press, 2017), she explores the cultural politics of gospel rap in Los Angeles. In addition to writing for journalistic publications, Christina’s work has appeared in numerous scholarly journals and edited books, including Journal of Popular Music Studies, Black Music Research Journal, The Oxford Handbook of Mobile Music and Sound Studies, The Cambridge Companion to Hip Hop, Carnegie Hall’s Timeline of African American Music, and Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas. Her research focuses on music’s relationship to religion, race, and geography in urban America.
As an Associate Professor at Santa Clara University, she teaches courses in the Music Department and Ethnic Studies Department on American pop music and race, hip hop history, Black Atlantic music cultures, flamenco history, global music, social theory, and ethnography. She is a founding member of SCU’s Culture.Power.Difference Working Group and Speaker Series and is the former Co-Director of the SCU Center for Arts and Humanities, working with W. Kamau Bell (2017-2018), Taye Diggs (2018-2019), and Rhiannon Giddens (2019-2021) through the Frank Sinatra Artist-in-Residence program.
Christina grew up in San Francisco, attended New York University, and then worked as the Director of Operations for Afropop Worldwide in Brooklyn. There, she helped produce their Hip Deep public radio series that brought together musicians from the Caribbean, Southern Africa, and the Arab world and scholars from a wide range of disciplines. She received her Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from UCLA in 2010, after which she taught courses on global music at San Quentin through the Prison University Project before becoming an Assistant Professor at Santa Clara University. Since 2010, she has served on the Board of Directors for the Mosaic Multicultural Foundation, an arts and mentoring organization founded by renowned mythologist Michael Meade that supports veterans and “at risk” youth in the creation of their own poetry and music.
Christina is a flamenco dancer, performing throughout the Bay Area as a soloist and as a member of a flamenco repertory ensemble led by Melissa Cruz. Occasionally, she can be heard singing harmonies with her brother - New Orleans-based musician, Sam Doores - on various stages.