Research seminars

William Cheng | Loving Music Till It Hurts

Event Details

Guest speaker: William Cheng (Dartmouth College)

Date: 7 October 2020

Time: 4.15-5.15 pm

Online (Zoom) 

About this seminar

Is it possible for our love and protection of music to go too far? Can such devotion ever do more harm than good? Can our intense allegiances to music distract, release, or hinder us from attending to matters of social justice?

William Cheng, Loving Music Till It Hurts, p. 2


In this first seminar of the new academic year, William Cheng joins us to take questions on his most recent book, Loving Music Till It Hurts (OUP, 2019). The discussion will focus in particular on the final chapter, "Jordan Russell Davis". Jordan Davis was travelling in a car with friends, listening to rap music on the car stereo, when he was shot and killed by a white man after a brief exchange of words. Cheng focuses on this case while addressing wider questions of the impacts of anti-Black racism and violence, and how this intersects with and finds expression in value judgements related to music. 

Ahead of the seminar, we're asking everyone to read the Prelude, Chapter 6, and the Postlude of Loving Music Till It Hurts. Staff and students of the University of Edinburgh can access the text here:



William Cheng is Chair and Associate Professor of Music at Dartmouth College. His work and teaching focus on history, media, ethics, disability, race, and digital games.  A founding coeditor of University of Michigan Press’s Music & Social Justice series, Will Cheng also serves on the Council of the American Musicological Society and on the boards of Journal of the Society for American Music, Music & the Moving Image, Women & Music, Ethnomusicology Review, Sound Studies, and Journal of Videogame Sound and Music. Previous publications include the books Sound Play: Video Games and the Musical Imagination (OUP, 2014) and Just Vibrations: The Purpose of Sounding Good (University of Michigan Press, 2016). 

William Cheng's homepage (external link)

Access details

This seminar will take place online via Zoom.

Please note that you need the meeting link and a password to access the seminar. 

Join Zoom Meeting (external link) 

Meeting ID: 837 4949 2968


Staff and students of the University of Edinburgh can access the password here:

EASE page for this event


If you are outside our organisation, please register in advance via Eventbrite. The password will be sent by email on the day of the event:

Register for the event (only for those who are not students/staff of the University of Edinburgh; external link). 


Oct 07 2020 -

William Cheng | Loving Music Till It Hurts

This is a Q & A style session with William Cheng, based on the final chapter of his book, Loving Music Till It Hurts, which discusses the murder of Black teenager Jordan Russell Davis in 2012.

Online (Zoom)