SOAS University of London

Centre for Creative Industries, Media and Screen Studies

Dr Caspar Melville

PhD (London), SFHEA
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Expertise
  • Publications


Caspar Melville
Centre for Creative Industries, Media and Screen Studies

Co-Chair, Senior Lecturer in Global Creative and Cultural Industries

Centre of African Studies


Dr Caspar Melville
Email address:
+44 (0)20 7898 4249
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Russell Square: College Buildings
Office No:
Academic Support Hours:
Wednesdays 11-1


I was born and raised in London, and started my career as a music journalist, writing for the independent black music press – Blues & Soul, Touch, Urb and Jazzid – and freelancing for other publications such as The Village Voice and The Sunday Telegraph. I spent eight years living in San Francisco in the 1990s, during which time I worked a columnist, DJ, radio presenter and club promoter, and helped start a short-lived jazz magazine, On The One. Back in London I worked as Media Editor and then Executive Editor at the online journal openDemocracy for five years. Before joining SOAS, in September 2013, I worked for eight years for the charity the Rationalist Association, where I was  the editor of New Humanist magazine and the charity’s chief executive. My first book Taking Offence (Seagull books/Index on Censorship) was published in 2009.

I have a BA in American Studies (Literature) from Sussex University and an MA and PhD in Media and Communications from Goldsmiths College, University of London. My thesis – London Underground The Multicultural Routes of London’s Dance Music Cultures – explored issues of race, space identity and belonging in the interracial clubs of London, 1965-1998.

Listen to Caspar discussing his research on SOAS Radio.


Programmes Convened
Modules Taught
PhD Students supervised
  • Arka Chakraborty, The Reception History of Bob Dylan in Indian Popular Music
  • Craig Ryder, Algorithms @ Work: How are digital technologies reimagining media production in Sri Lanka?
  • Helen Glaister, Collecting in Public and Private: The Ionides Collection of Chinese Export Porcelain, 1920-1970
  • Joseph Owen Jackson, Kahlil Joseph, New Media and the Audiovisual Atlantic: Music and Moving Images between Africa, America and Europe


My main research interests include

  • Afro-diasporic popular music: The production, consumption and circulation of “black” music (music of African origin), generic change, music in everyday life, dance and antiphony, The Black Atlantic, circum-Atlantic creative practice
  • The history and cartography of genre: jazz, hip hop, Jungle, Grime
  • The distinct artistic practices of the city, London in particular
  • Ideologies of race and identity
  • The history and future of cultural studies and critical theory
  • Post-digital media - in particular issues of ownership, work and ideologies of utopia

A secondary area of interest involves the philosophical utility of reason, the scientific method, contemporary religion and non-religion, and free speech and offence. I recently authored a book about the history of dance music cultures in London, 1980-2000, called It's a London Thing: How Rare Groove, Acid House and Jungle Remapped the City (2019). The book is now available from Manchester University Press

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Caspar Melville book talk on YouTube

I am also a researcher on Bass Culture, a 3-year AHRC-funded research project on the history and impact of Jamaican music (reggae and its many offshoots) in the UK. Research outputs will include a major exhibition, film and online resource. I will be contributing a monograph scheduled for publication in 2019. 


For help in contacting SOAS academics and advice on services to business and the community, please contact SOAS Enterprise on +44(0)20 7898 4837 or email
For all press and media enquiries please call +44 (0)20 7898 4135 or email

Available for
  • TV
  • Radio
  • Press
  • Briefings
Regional Expertise
Country Expertise


Authored Books

Melville, Caspar (2019) It's A London Thing: How Rare Groove, Acid House and Jungle Remapped The City. Manchester: Manchester University Press.


Melville, Caspar (2017) 'Valuing Tradition: Mali’s jeliw, European publishers and Copyright'. Journal of World Popular Music, (4) 1, pp 10-44.

Melville, Caspar (2014) 'The Politics of Everyday life: Why We Still Need Cultural Studies'. New Humanist magazine, (118) 3.

Book Chapters

Melville, Caspar (2017) 'Process as Outcome: Research Across Borders'. In: Shiach, Morag and Virani, Tarek, (eds.), Cultural Policy, Innovation and the Creative Economy: Creative Collaborations in Arts and Humanities Research. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp 179-188.

Melville, Caspar (2015) 'Strange Routes: "Dancing Girl": Flows, Formats and Fortune in Music.'. In: Harris, Rachel and Pease, Rowan, (eds.), Pieces of the Musical World: Sounds and Cultures. Abingdon; New York: Routledge, pp 209-226.


This list was last generated on Wednesday, 29th June 2022, 23:59 Europe/London.