Since 1980, Professor Guilbault has done extensive fieldwork in the French Creole- and English-speaking islands of the Caribbean on both traditional and popular music. Her work is concerned with power relations, global industrialization, labor practices, cultural entrepreneurship, and work ethics in Caribbean popular musics. Stressing a multidisciplinary approach, she addresses these issues in the scholarly intersections of music, anthropology, cultural studies, and history.
Dr. Guilbault is the author of Zouk: World Music in the West Indies (U of Chicago Press, 1993), a study that maps the complex musical network among the French-Creole speaking islands, and the vexed relations that are articulated through music between the West Indian French Departments and the Metropole, France. Her book, Governing Sound: the Cultural Politics of Trinidad’s Carnival Musics (U of Chicago Press, 2007), explores the ways the calypso music scene became audibly entangled with projects of governing, audience demands, and market incentives. In Roy Cape: A Lifetime on the Calypso and Soca Bandstand (Duke U Press, 2014), an experiment in dialogic co-authorship with a reputed Trinidadian calypso and soca band leader, she engages the audible entanglements of circulation, reputation and sound. It is both a study about reputation, circulation, and work ethics, and a dialogic experiment in story. Co-editor of Border Crossings: New Directions in Music Studies (Repercussion, 1999-2000), she recently coedited a volume titled Sounds of Vacation: Political Economies of Caribbean Tourism (Duke U Press, 2019). Dr. Guilbault has been on several editorial boards and served as a board member of the Canadian Music Society, the Society for Ethnomusicology, and the Caribbean Studies Association, and the Board of Governors of the University of California Humanities.