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University of Washington
Ethnomusicology Program

Type of Program and Degrees Offered

Ethnomusicology is a division within the University of Washington School of Music. Students who want to concentrate in ethnomusicology have the choice of four degree programs: B.A. in Ethnomusicology, School of Music, M.A., Music, School of Music Ph.D., Music, School of Music Ph.D., Anthropology, Anthropology Department

Program Focus

The UW Ethnomusicology program encourages students to learn and apply theoretical perspectives and methodologies from diverse disciplines. The program also stresses performative engagement with visiting artists, encouraging students to embrace music-making as central to their research and scholarship. While faculty have their own geographical/cultural and theoretical specializations, the program’s variety of theoretical and performance training is designed to support students in any geographical/cultural specialization they choose.

Special Resources

The UW Ethnomusicology program has since 1962 hosted musicians from across the world as artists in residence. In addition to visiting artists, whom we continue to feature within the program, Seattle is home to a wide array of musicians and musical communities with whom students in the Ethnomusicology program can study and perform. Our Ethnomusicology Archives houses a large collection of field recordings, live concert recordings, films and videos of a variety of musical events, and musical instruments. The mission of the archives includes the collection, documentation, and preservation of ethnographic materials for use by students, researchers, and members of source communities now and in the future. The archivist assists students working on class projects, and as a member of the graduate faculty is occasionally involved in teaching and advising. We encourage collaborative projects with other departments and UW entities, as well as community partners. Examples of such collaborations include a museum exhibit at the Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum, titled, "American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music”; the Seattle Fandango Project, building community through participatory music; "Music Alive! In the Yakima Valley,” a music education initiative to provide music training and opportunities for Mexican American and Native American school children; and a variety of collaborations with UW area studies programs. We enjoy a close relationship with the UW Music Education program. Graduate students from both Ethnomusicology and Music Education have worked creatively across divisional boundaries on projects involving music education and transmission.

Full-Time Faculty in Ethnomusicology

Patricia Shehan Campbell. Professor. Ph.D., Music, Kent State University. Children's Musical Cultures, World Music Pedagogy, Community Music.

Shannon Dudley. Associate Professor; Adjunct Associate Professor of Anthropology and American Ethnic Studies. Ph.D., Music, University of California, Berkeley 1997. Caribbean and Latin America; Nationalism, Festival, Participatory Music.

Ter Ellingson. Professor; Adjunct Professor of Anthropology, Comparative Religion, African, Canadian, and South Asian Studies. Ph.D., Anthropology/Buddhist Studies, University of Wisconsin. Tibet, Nepal, Buddhist Cultures; Asante, Ga, Dagarti, West African Cultures; Ritual, Symbolism, History, Notation/Transcription, Visual Media.

Laurel Sercombe. Ethnomusicology Archivist and Lecturer. Ph.D., Ethnomusicology, University of Washington. Sound Archiving; Song Traditions of the First People of the Northwest Coast; History of Ethnographic Research in the Pacific Northwest; The Beatles.

Christina Sunardi. Assistant Professor. Ph.D., Music, University of California, Berkeley. Performing Arts of Java and Bali, Gender, and Music in the United States.

Affiliated Faculty

Stuart Dempster. Emeritus, Music (Didjeridou, Trombone, New Music).

Ramesh Gangolli. Emeritus, Mathematics (Musical Styles and Traditions, North India).

Michelle Habell-Pallan. Adjunct Associate Professor, Women Studies (Chicano/a popular culture, critical race and gender theory).

Visiting Artists

Recent artists-in-residence have included Kedmon Mapana (Wagogo, Tanzania), Heri Purwanto (Javanese gamelan), Homayoun Sahki and Salar Nader (Afghan rabab and tabla), Srivani Jade (Hindustani khyal), Thione Diop (Senegalese sabab drumming), Kevin Burke (Irish traditional fiddle), Pablo Rivera (Puerto Rican bomba).

General Program Statement

Ethnomusicology degree programs at the University of Washington feature an integrated interdisciplinary approach to the study of music and culture. Our faculty are members of the School of Music, and adjunct members of Anthropology and other departments; our students are able to enroll for studies in Ethnomusicology, across the Music specializations, and in disciplines and area studies programs in the university. The B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. programs combine academic coursework in these disciplines with firsthand musical experience in individual lessons and ensembles, taught by leading performers from the world’s musical traditions who join us each year as artists in residence. Students also have options to perform in the steel band, Javanese gamelan, Zim-marimba ensemble, and gospel choir.

Our students receive systematic training in the interdisciplinary theories and methods needed to understand both the universal and the unique aspects of cultures and musical traditions. They work in fields as diverse as anthropology, linguistics, comparative religions, cultural ecology, education, ethnomedicine, women studies, history, literary studies, philosophy, folklore, library science, computer applications, video documentation, and musicological approaches, from historical studies to formal analysis. Students working towards the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees have in recent years conducted field research on traditional, popular, and immigrant musics in countries across the world. Graduates of the program presently hold positions at major universities in the U.S. and abroad, as well as in a variety of public-service organizations.

Financial Support

The UW ethnomusicology program supports graduate students through a combination of teaching assistantships and fellowships, including FLAS (Foreign Language and Area Studies) fellowships, Huckabay Teaching Assistantships, and AIRS: Advancing Interdisciplinary Research in Singing research support. Our students also have been successful in acquiring a variety of teaching assistantships and fellowships from outside the School of Music, including FLAS (Foreign Language and Area Studies) fellowships.

Further Information

Patricia Shehan Campbell, Head of Ethnomusicology, School of Music, Box 353450, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-3450, USA. Phone: 206-543-6308; Email: pcamp@uw.edu

Program Website


Ethnomusicology Student Group

Ethnomusicology Students Association: ethnoids@uw.edu

Related Websites

University of Washington School of Music: http://www.music.washington.edu/home/

The content for University of Washington was last updated September 1, 2014.

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