Skip to main content

Department ofMusic

Christina Zanfagna

Christina Zanfagna
Christina Zanfagna
Associate Professor

Christina Zanfagna is an ethnomusicologist and dancer. She received her Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from UCLA in 2010 after earning her B.A. from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. She teaches courses on American music and race, Black Atlantic popular culture and politics, flamenco history, social theory, and ethnographic methods. She is a co-founder of SCU’s “Culture.Power.Difference” speaker series and working group.

Her research focuses on music’s relationship to religion, race and geography in urban America. She specializes in black sacred and popular musics, especially gospel rap (a.k.a. holy hip hop), hip hop cultures, and soul music. Zanfagna has published on subjects ranging from hip hop’s religious history to digital DJing practices, gospel rap, “krump” dancing on the streets of South Los Angeles, and Harlem’s black diasporas. She is currently finishing a book project, entitled, Holy Hip Hop in the City of Angels - an ethnography of gospel rap in LA.

Zanfagna has been actively involved with nonprofit organizations as well as local and global music communities. As the former Operations Manager for Afropop Worldwide, 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. For the past seven years, she has worked with mythologist Michael Meade and the Mosaic Multicultural Foundation to fund and produce their dynamic mentoring programs, which support veterans and “at risk,” gang-affiliated, and homeless youth in the creation of their own poetry and music.

Currently residing in Berkeley, Zanfagna also regularly performs flamenco dance throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

For more information, please visit her website at

In the News

June 8, 2019

Christina Zanfagna was quoted in ABC and PressFrom about the recent popularity of referencing religion in Hip Hop music.