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University of California-Davis
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University of California-Davis
Department of Music

Type of Program and Degrees Offered

Ethnomusicology is one of three graduate emphases (the other two are composition and musicology). The UC Davis music department is small; faculty and students in all three emphases have many common interests and work closely together. Graduate seminars typically involve students from all three emphases. Undergraduate students interested in ethnomusicology follow the history, theory, and ethnomusicology track of our B.A. program. We offer M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in music with a concentration in ethnomusicology. The Department of Music is part of the Humanities, Arts, and Cultural Studies (HArCS) Division of the College of Letters and Science.

Program Focus

The ethnomusicology program at Davis provides a rigorous theoretical grounding in ethnomusicology and has geographic strengths in musics of the Americas, Southeast Asia, and East Asia; our students represent a range of geographical interests and theoretical approaches, however. Fieldwork opportunities abound in nearby communities.

Special Resources

Related on-line and electronic databases; musical instrument collection (The Calvin and Gwendolyn Schwabe College of Non-Western Instruments includes 70 instruments from around the world); sound archives. Non-western ensembles include Sundanese gamelan (Henry Spiller), Hindustani vocal ensemble (Rita Sahai), samba bateria (Chris Froh), and Korean percussion ensemble (Katherine Lee). Past performers-in-residence have included Thomas Mapfumo for a week-long residency (2003); Rita Sahai, Swapan Chauduri, and Ramesh Misra (2004); Phong Nguyen Ensemble (2004); Euis Komariah and Gan-gan Garmana for a 10-day residency (2006); Wahyu Roche and Ening Rumbini for a week-long residency (2009). Regular workshops and conferences; cooperative programs with other institutions. Our graduate program is complemented by a rich array of area studies programs, including African American and African studies, American studies, Chicano/Chicana studies, dance history, Native American studies, performance studies, and women and gender studies. All ethnomusicology graduate students have required coursework in anthropology, critical studies, performance studies, and/or cultural studies.

Full-Time Faculty in Ethnomusicology

Katherine In-Young Lee. (Ph.D., Harvard, 2012) Assistant Professor of Music, Department of Music. Korean music; music and politics, transnational circulations; ethnography.

Henry Spiller. (Ph.D., UC Berkeley 2001) Associate Professor of Music, Department of Music. Javanese and Sundanese music and dance; music and dance relationships; gender studies.

Affiliated Faculty

Jessica Bissett Perea. (Ph.D. in Musicology, University of California, Los Angeles) Assistant Professor in Native American Studies. Music, sound, and media studies; critical race and gender studies; Alaska Native and Circumpolar Inuit cultures, histories, and politics; Urban Indigeneities; African and Native alliances and cultural production in the Americas; jazz and improvisational musics; research ethics and methodologies.

Zoila Mendoza. (Ph.D. in anthropology, University of Chicago 1993) Professor in Native American Studies. Performance and dance in the Americas and Africa: festivals, carnivals, and dance troupes; theorizing race and ethnicity.

General Program Statement

UC Davis's graduate program in ethnomusicology, launched in 2003, offers M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in music with a concentration in ethnomusicology. Housed within the Department of Music, ethnomusicology students benefit from collaboration with our distinguished faculty and students in the musicology and composition programs. In addition, they build a crucial interdisciplinary underpinning to their studies through required courses outside the department in anthropology, critical theory, cultural studies, and area studies. We offer rigorous training in the intellectual history of the field, fieldwork, ethnography, and transcription. We are especially strong in Asian, Latin American, and Native American studies.

Financial Support

Typically the Music Department supports all graduate students for four years with tuition remission plus a fellowship that requires 25% to 50% teaching assistantship. Students are encouraged to apply for other graduate fellowships; information is available through the Office of Graduate Studies.

Further Information

Henry Spiller, Associate Professor, Department of Music, University of California-Davis, Davis CA 95616. Phone: 530-757-5791; Fax: 530-752-0983; Email: hjspiller@ucdavis.edu

Program Website


Ethnomusicology Student Group


The content for University of California-Davis was last updated November 14, 2014.

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